What is Residency?
Many issues in life and the law turn on the fact of a person’s residency. Are you applying to college? Most public universities distinguish between resident and non-resident applicants in determining how tuition is assessed. Non-resident students pay more. For many professionals residency can be important. Practicing law, selling real estate, or working as an insurance agent or adjuster all require state-specific licensing, and those licenses very often have residency requirements.
But what does it mean to be a “resident” of a place? Simply put, a resident is a permanent member of the community. A person becomes a resident of a place when they decide to move their home there. A resident is not someone who is visiting family, travelling through for business, attending school or engaging in some other activity that may take place over an extended period of time.
Because so much often rides on a person’s residency, though, the states have enacted different methods for determining this critical question.
So, how do I know I’m a resident of Colorado–and why does it matter?
Becoming A Resident of Colorado
Becoming a resident of Colorado is pretty simple. All you need to do is: (1) move to the state and (2) live there for 90 consecutive days with (3) an intent to remain there permanently. If you do these three things, you will be a legal resident of the state of Colorado.
Your residency would likely only ever be disputed because you’ve become involved in some kind of legal situation. As was mentioned briefly above, residency plays a factor in several different circumstances that touch upon the law.
A person might attempt to challenge your residency status hoping to force you to resolve the situation through the court system of a different state, perhaps a state with laws that significantly favor their side of the suit.
If your residency is being disputed, the disputing side will likely attack the intent element of your claim to residency status. This is because the first requirement–physical presence for 90 days–is fairly easy to establish. The affidavits of neighbors or co-workers attesting to the fact would be more than sufficient to demonstrate presence. Intent, however, is harder to prove.
If this happens, a Colorado court will consider things like the payment of local taxes, the signing of a long-term lease, enrollment in a local school, or any number of other pieces of evidence that tend to show whether or not you have the required intent to be considered a Colorado resident.
What Are The Most Common Issues In Which Residency Plays A Role?
Residency most often becomes an issue in marital disputes. There aren’t many legal defenses to a petition for divorce, and a court’s lack of jurisdiction because a party is actually a non-resident is one of the few. Parties that don’t want to get divorced, or want to drag out a divorce to gain some advantage in the proceedings, or to bring the proceedings into a state with rules more favorable to their circumstance, may attack residency as a way of achieving this goal.
In Colorado, any person can file for divorce so long as they are a Colorado resident–that is to say, so long as they’ve been living in Colorado for 90 days and can demonstrate their intent to stay. Because of Colorado’s relatively liberal residency requirements and divorce laws, many people might find it an advantageous location for this kind of “forum shopping.”
If you’re in a situation where your residency is being challenged or you need to challenge the residency of another party, consult with the experts at the Berumen Law Firm, (303) 751-2128, today.
Image by Unsplash