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How should couples prepare for executing a prenup?

Some Colorado couples who are engaged to be married may be thinking about more practical matters than simply what color flowers to have at their wedding or whether chicken or beef should be served at their reception. They may have taken steps towards thinking of their future, specifically about the fact that statistically there is a chance their marriage might end in divorce. Therefore, they may have decided to execute a premarital agreement -- also known as a prenuptial agreement.

While some people might think that all a prenup does is dictate who gets what in a divorce, it can do more than that. However, couples should not make their prenup overly-complicated. There are some basic points to keep in mind that could lead to a prenup that is fair and satisfactory to all.

Some Coloradans may prefer a legal separation to a divorce

There are certain reasons why a married couple in Colorado may wish to pursue a legal separation rather than a divorce. For example, they may have financial issues that make a legal separation preferable to a divorce. They may want to formally give themselves time apart before making the final decision whether to end their marriage. Or, they may have religious beliefs that make a legal separation preferable to a divorce. In the end, a legal separation can accomplish many things a divorce can. These things will be addressed per statute in a separation agreement.

A separation agreement is a written agreement entered into by the parties that outlines the terms of their separation. A separation agreement can include provisions regarding spousal maintenance, asset division, parental responsibilities, parenting time and child support. These are the same legal issues that would be addressed if the spouses were pursuing a divorce.

When may self-defense be a viable criminal defense option?

Sometimes a person harms another person and is charged with a crime, such as assault. However, Colorado, like all other states in the nation, recognizes that there may be times when a person needs to use force to protect themselves from dangers they face, even if that means doing something that is technically illegal. Therefore, some people facing criminal charges may be able to argue that they only acted in self-defense. This post will provide a general overview of self-defense, but it may be necessary to consult with a legal professional to determine if self-defense is an option in your specific case.

To argue self-defense, generally the accused must be able to show that they acted in response to an imminent threat of harm. This means that the accused was placed in immediate fear that they would be hurt or killed. This is a high standard to meet, as offensive words alone do not satisfy this requirement of a self-defense argument. In addition, a person cannot act in self-defense if the threat of harm against them is no longer there. Acts committed after a threat is over may be deemed retaliatory, rather than self-defense.

Prenups can protect Colorado couples in the event of a divorce

When a couple is engaged to be married, their heads may be so up in the clouds that they may not think -- or want to think -- about the fact that their marriage might not last. However, divorce is a very real possibility for many couples in Colorado. Therefore, before saying "I do," couples may want to consider entering into a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement is essentially a contract a couple enters into prior to marriage that addresses a number of family law issues in the event of divorce. Prenuptial agreements can touch on several topics, but there are limitations as well.

One of the most widely known reasons for executing a prenuptial agreement is to lay out who gets what in the event of a divorce. This can be especially important if one or both spouses have significant assets coming into the marriage that they want to protect as separate property. In fact, prior to signing a prenuptial agreement, each party is usually required to fully disclose the entirety of their assets and debts so that both sides can make informed decisions. Spousal maintenance -- also known as alimony -- is another issue that can be addressed in a prenuptial agreement. However, child support cannot be addressed in one of these agreements as state law will dictate what amount of child support is appropriate and in the best interests of the child.

Will the Colorado legislature pass a 'red flag' bill in 2019?

Mental illness and gun control is a highly controversial topic these days, with many people having different opinions on the subject. While some may feel that laws need to be changed to stop the mentally ill from having access to firearms, how to go about that is an issue that has yet to be resolved.

When Colorado's next legislative session begins on January 4, some legislators are looking to reintroduce a "red flag" bill, that is, legislation that would institute an "extreme risk protection order." Under this bill, if a person owns a firearm, that person's family or a police officer could ask a judge to have that person's firearms confiscated if it can be shown that the person is suffering from a mental illness. Similar legislation passed the Colorado House of Representatives in the last legislative session, but it did not pass out of a Senate committee.

When can Colorado residents be charged with drug manufacturing?

Recreational marijuana use may be legal in Colorado, but there is still a litany of drugs that are illegal to manufacture, sell and possess in the state. However, it is not unusual for people to possess otherwise legal items that could, potentially, be used to make illicit substances. Does this mean that, if caught, a person who possesses equipment that could potentially be used to make drugs can be charged with drug manufacturing?

In general, to have probable cause to charge a person with drug manufacturing, it must be shown that the person both possessed illegal drugs and intended to manufacture them. In general, without probable cause, the police cannot make an arrest. So, it is important that the elements of possession and intent are present when a person is arrested on drug manufacturing charges.

How to keep the holidays happy for children post-divorce

December is almost here, which means the winter holidays are upon us. Most parents in Colorado want their child to have a good holiday season, but parents who are divorced may wonder what they can do to ensure that the animosity they may have with their ex-spouse does not tarnish their child's holiday memories. While the navigating the holidays as a divorced parent can be complicated, there are things that can be done now to ensure the holidays run smoothly.

First, parents should review their holiday parenting time schedule sooner rather than later. Their parenting time schedule will likely have provisions laying out which parent has the child on which holidays. For example, a child might spend Christmas morning with one parent and Christmas afternoon with the other. By reviewing their parenting time orders early, parents have the chance to ask the court for any modifications that might need to be made if the current order is no longer feasible. It can also provide both children and their parents with a sense of stability if they know what to expect.

How are inheritances treated during the asset division process?

While it is never easy to lose a loved one, sometimes following a loved one's death a person is fortunate enough to receive a significant inheritance. However, what happens if a person in Colorado receives an inheritance while married, but later divorces? How is the inheritance treated when it comes to asset division in a divorce?

First, it is important to understand the difference between marital property and separate property. Marital property is that which a spouse obtains while married. In general, each spouse has an ownership interest in marital property, and thus it is subject to division between the spouses in the event of a divorce. Separate property is that which is owned prior to marriage. Unless it has commingled with marital property, the spouse that owned the property prior to their marriage will retain that property in the event of a divorce.

Don't let a DUI mar your early holiday season

Now that it's November, people in Colorado are looking forward to Thanksgiving and all the winter festivities that follow it. It is a popular time of year for parties, and oftentimes alcohol is served at these occasions. However, whether you are watching football with a beer on Thanksgiving Day, or sipping champagne to ring in the New Year, it is important to keep in mind that the police will be on high alert this time of year for those who they believe are drunk driving.

The consequences should you be convicted of DUI or DWI in Colorado are severe. You could face fines or even incarceration. Moreover, you could lose your driver's license. All of these consequences can make it prohibitively difficult to carry out basic daily activities such as going to work, picking your kids up from school, and running errands. It is a situation no one wants to find themselves in.

Domestic violence and neglect does not always leave a mark

Not all abusers leave physical marks on their victims. Emotional abuse carries no outward appearance, and even violent acts such as shoving do not always result in a tell-tale bruise or broken bone for all to see. Unfortunately, sometimes an abuser is so charismatic that people are surprised to find out about the acts of domestic violence they have inflicted on the victim. However, it is essential that victims of domestic violence and neglect in Colorado obtain the protective orders and other legal resources they need to leave their abusive relationship.

One way to look at abusers, according to one study, is to classify them as either family-only abusers who only committed violent acts against their spouse or as antisocial abusers who committed violent acts against those other than just their spouse. The study revealed that antisocial abusers were more likely to commit acts of psychological abuse or to commit severe or fatal acts of violence in comparison to family-only abusers.

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