Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are a type of contract. Therefore, they must comply with ordinary principles of contract law. Pursuant to ordinary principles of contract law, a party to a contract cannot say that he or she did not know the contents of a contract he or she has executed, and a party signing an agreement is bound to know its contents even if the party did not read it.

 

Since marital agreements are a specialized form of contract, they are also subject to certain principles and considerations set forth in the Colorado Marital Agreement Act ("the Act"). The Act provides that marital agreements shall be in writing and signed by both parties, and are enforceable without consideration. The Act also provides that a marital agreement becomes effective upon marriage, if signed by both parties prior to marriage, or upon the signatures of both parties, if signed after marriage. After a marital agreement becomes effective, it may be amended or revoked by a written agreement signed by both parties. The amended agreement or revocation is enforceable without consideration.

A marital agreement, amendment or revocation is presumed enforceable unless the challenging party proves: (a) such party did not sign the agreement, amendment, or revocation voluntarily; or (b) before signing the agreement, amendment or revocation, such party was not provided a fair and reasonable disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party. Thus, a successful challenge to the enforceability of a marital agreement requires the challenging party to prove that he or she did not enter into the agreement voluntarily or was not provided a fair and reasonable disclosure of the other party's property or financial obligations.

There is no Colorado law permitting termination of a marital agreement solely because of failure of one party to fulfill his or her obligations thereunder. In Colorado, a party seeking to terminate a contract must do so within a reasonable time frame. Further, all payments and things of value must be returned and all benefits must be adequately compensated if termination occurs. A party may not cease to perform a contract in part and affirm it in part, or rescind a contract, yet retain some benefit from it.

 

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