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Colorado's new law governing premarital and marital agreements

In July of 2014, a new Colorado statute took effect which revises the law regarding premarital and marital agreements - also known as prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. The new law applies to all agreements entered into on or after July 1, 2014. Agreements entered into prior to that date will continue to be governed by the old law.

One of the major changes in the new law deals with legal representation. If one party to the agreement is not represented by a lawyer when the agreement is entered into, the new law gives that party time to find and consult a lawyer. If the unrepresented party cannot afford a lawyer, the party with a lawyer must agree to pay for an independent lawyer for the unrepresented party. If the party decides to proceed without a lawyer, the agreement must contain specific language warning that party of the rights they may be giving up.

Another major change in the new law is that it specifically states it is supplemented by equitable principles and principles of law. This provision potentially provides the court with greater authority to evaluate the overall fairness of the agreement at the time of divorce.

Finally, the new law makes it more difficult for a party to enforce a waiver of alimony by the other party. The new statute provides that a waiver of alimony, also known as spousal maintenance or spousal support, will not be enforced if it is unconscionable, meaning if it is extremely unfair. Significantly, whether the agreement is unconscionable is now determined at the time of the dissolution, not at the time the agreement is entered into.

The information in this post is general information only, not legal advice. If you have specific questions about entering into a premarital or marital agreement, it would be wise to consult an experienced Colorado family law attorney.

Source: Colorado General Assembly, "House Bill 13-1204," accessed on Aug. 19, 2014

Source: Colorado General Assembly, "House Bill 13-1204," accessed on Aug. 19, 2014

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