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Frequently Asked Questions

Helpful Links:


(link takes you to site managed by the National Center for Health Statistics)

(link takes you to site managed by the federal Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs)



Our office ffice hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Monday-Friday


Please note: Same-day service available until 4:30 p.m.


For more information, please see our Contact Information page.

Couples themselves may solemnize their own marriage (perform one's own marriage ceremony). According to Colorado Revised Statute 14-2-109, a marriage may be solemnized by a judge of a court; by a court magistrate; by a retired judge of the court; by a public official whose powers include solemnization of marriages; by Indian tribe officials; by clergy; by the parties to the marriage. If you wish to solemnize your own marriage, you will be responsible for acquiring, completing and returning the license to marry to the appropriate county Office of the Clerk and Recorder.


No one else may solemnize a marriage.


Clergy from out-of-state need not be registered in Colorado.

A common-law marriage is a social relationship between a man and a woman that meets all the necessary requisites of a marriage that was not solemnized, performed or witnessed by an official authorized to perform marriages. The necessary elements of a common-law marriage are:


  • An intent of both parties freely given to become married;
  • A public declaration by the parties or a holding out to the public that they are husband and wife;
  • Continuous cohabitation together as husband and wife (this means consummation of the marriage);
  • Both parties must be capable of entering into the marriage relationship. No special time limit is necessary to establish a common-law marriage. Colorado recognizes, for income and property tax purposes, registration as husband and wife on applications, leases, contract forms and hotel/motel registers;
  • A common-law marriage cannot be terminated except by court dissolution (divorce) or death.


There is no official Certificate of Common-Law Marriage. If the parties to a common-law marriage need documentary proof, they may complete and sign, in front of a notary, an affidavit attesting to the marriage. It may be placed on file with the Office of the Clerk and Recorder, most likely in the county of residence.


Documentary evidence is not required for a common-law marriage to be fact. The Colorado Department of Law has an information sheet that may be useful.

There is no requirement that a dead human body or fetus be buried in an established cemetery. Bodies or fetuses may be buried on private land unless local ordinances prohibit it. Cremation is considered "final disposition" and the State retains no control over disposition of the ashes. Ashes may be disposed of as the next of kin desires except for any restriction by local ordinances. It is important to check any federal, county or local laws and ordinances first before disposing of remains.


A funeral director is not required. However, the funeral director or person acting as such who first assumes custody of the body is the person primarily responsible for the process of completing the death certificate, obtaining the medical certification and filing it with the local registrar in the county of death.


Embalming is not required if disposal is within 24 hours. However, a dead human body or fetus kept more than 24 hours before burial or cremation MUST be embalmed or properly refrigerated.


The requirement is not specific concerning type or brand of container for transport. The intent is to preserve the public health and the dignity with which the dead human body is treated. The dead human body or fetus must be in a "tightly sealed container that will prevent the leakage of fluids or odor."

Birth certificates must be filed with the local registrar within 10 days after birth. Or, if the birth certificate is filed electronically, filed directly with the Office of State Registrar. Death and fetal death certificates must be filed with the local registrar within five days.


How long does it take to get a social security card for my child once the official birth certificate has been filed?


Parents may register their newborns for Social Security cards at the time of birth. The service is free, and a card is sent to the parents in about 2-3 weeks after the certificate is filed.

Please see the Establishing Paternity page.

Parents may register their newborns for Social Security cards at the time of birth. The service is free, and a card is sent to the parents in about 2-3 weeks after the certificate is filed.