Pre-Marital & Marital Agreements in Colorado- Do You Need One?
What is a Marital Agreement?
The purpose of a Marital Agreement, whether before marriage (pre-maritial) or after, is to alter the effect of the statutory law and case law on the parties’ property whether acquired prior to the marriage or during.
Most Marital Agreements also address the issue of the parties’ estates and have terms altering the effect of the statutory law and case law concerning estates of married people or those joined in civil unions. They must be in writing and signed by both parties.
A Marital Agreement relies upon the parties making a full and fair disclosure of their assets to each other and each party voluntarily and willingly agreeing to its terms. Marital Agreements usually come into play if and when the parties divorce or at the death of one of them.
As of July 1, 2014 (effective date) Colorado adopts new Maritial Areement Statute: “Uniform Premarital and Marital Agreements Act-14-2-301 C.R.S as amended.
This new statutory law makes several changes to prior Colorado Law:
- The new law applies to all civil unions and common law marriages
- A Premarital or Marital Agreement in order to be enforceable must:
- Have each party’s consent to the Agreement, be voluntary and not the result of duress.
- Both parties must at least have had access to independent legal representation
- Both parties either must have had independent legal representaion or the Agreement must include statutory notice of waiver of rights or an explanation in simple language of the marital rights and or obligations being modified or waived by the Agreement.
- Both parties need adequate financial disclosure from the other party of their assets,debts, and income.
There should be specific language regarding provisions of a Marital Agreement being unenforceable. Those provisions have to do with waiver of maintenance and payement of attorneys fees. If the court finds these provisions unconscionable at the time of enforcement, it may rule they are unenforceable as a matter of law.
As the law is now, there is uncertainty as to how the Colorado Courts will interpet the new Uniform Statute.
What are the Benefits?
The primary benefit of a Marital Agreement is that it allows the parties to determine according to their own needs and circumstances how they wish to divide their property and debts in the event of a dissolution or at the time of death of one of them.
Many people would rather they make these decisions based on their own individual circumstances than leave their financial futures up to Colorado Law.
A well drafted Marital Agreement can provide for children from an earlier relationship (estate planning), ensure that assets you have worked hard to obtain remain yours and otherwise protect individuals from the effects of statutory provisions on marital estates and in the event or dissolution.
A Marital Agreement can be a useful estate planning tool as well as a way to minimize the conflict, uncertainty and stress in the event of a divorce or death.
For people who like to make their own decisions and control their own lives, a Marital Agreement is a useful tool.
What Can and Cannot be Included?
- Spousal Maintenance
In addition to property and estates, a marital agreement can also address issues of spousal maintenance, even though a clear waiver can be voided if at any time the party seeking maintenance is under circumstances that are unconscionable at the time of enforcement, as determined by the Court.
- Child Support
- Parenting Time
These issues are not appropriate for a Marital Agreement and are not enforceable.
We have years of experience in drafting Marital Agreements and counseling clients in these confidential personal and financial matters. If you have questions concerning Marital Agreements, please feel free to call Kurtz and Peckham, PC at (303)893-3045 or email our office at for a complimentary one half hour initial consultation with an experienced attorney.