Regardless of when a marital agreement was executed, there are several legal ways to invalidate it. A Colorado family lawyer can explain these bases in greater detail, but here are the specifics as outlined by the law. According to an article published by the Colorado Bar Association, “Marital Agreements in Colorado,” these are the grounds for invalidating a marital agreement.
- Lack of Fairness or “unconscionability” is when the terms of the agreement are so outrageous or unfair that they render the agreement invalid. Keep in mind that the trend in Colorado family courtrooms is to enforce the terms of a marital agreement when it is entered into voluntarily with adequate disclosure, regardless of its perceived unfairness.
- A change of circumstances, which may include the length of the marriage, the birth of children, or the detrimental reliance on the marriage, could change the court’s opinion on the validity of marital agreements. In cases like this and depending on the severity of the agreement, the state may take an interest in mitigating potential hardship on a spouse that would result from its dissolution.
- Public policy violations may be seen as a reason to attack the validity of marital agreement, particularly when it includes a form of discrimination. This may be the case when an agreement specifies a certain form of religious training for children.
- Undue influence, fraud, duress and involuntary execution are some common reasons for invalidating a marital agreement in the eyes of the court, and may occur when one party was without independent legal counsel at the time of the agreement’s execution. In order to prevail in a case like this, a party must prove that the other party knowingly committed fraud through false representations with the intent to deceive, or otherwise inhibited the other party’s free will through coercion, such as a threat of bodily harm.
Other ways to attack marital agreements may include the lack of financial disclosure, or the failure to attach such information as “exhibits” to the agreement. If you feel that your marital agreement may be invalidated due to some of the reasons outlined above, it may be time to consult with a Colorado Springs family lawyer.