In re Marriage of LaFleur and Pyfer.
2021 CO 3. No. 19SC1004. Common Law Marriage—Void Ab Initio—Retroactivity.
January 11, 2021
The Supreme Court reviewed whether a common law same-sex marriage entered in Colorado may be recognized as predating Colorado’s recognition of formal same-sex marriages. The Court held that state law restrictions on same-sex marriage deemed unconstitutional in Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. 664 (2015), cannot serve as an impediment to the recognition of a same-sex marriage predating that decision. The Court therefore affirmed the district court’s conclusion that the parties here were not, as a matter of law, barred from entering into a common law marriage. The Court also affirmed the district court’s determination that the parties in fact entered into a common law marriage in 2003. The Court reversed the district court’s division of property and award of spousal maintenance, however, and remanded with instructions to make further findings in accordance with CRS §§ 14-10-113 and -114.