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Proposed law would require classes before allowing marriage in Colorado


Proposed law would require classes before allowing marriage in Colorado

Colorado is considering legislation that would require people to take marriage education classes before being allowed to marry in the state. The ballot initiative has been proposed by a California advocacy group called Kids Against Divorce in an effort to raise awareness across the U.S. about the effect of divorce on children. The proposal is controversial and has several critics, however.

Colorado Marriage Education Act

The proposed law would require people to take a certain number of hours of pre-marital education or counseling based on the number of times they have been married. Those who are marrying for the first time would need to have 10 hours. Those who are entering second marriages would need 20 hours. Those getting married for a third time would need 30 hours. The requirement would apply not only to those who had gone through divorce, but also to those who had been widowed. Widows and widowers would have the same requirements as those getting married for the first time. Those seeking civil unions would be exempt from the requirement.

The proposal also includes a provision that offers tax breaks to couples who take continuing martial education classes each year.

The proponents of the ballot initiative need 86,105 signatures from voters by August 4, 2014 in order to get it on the November ballot.

Criticisms of the proposal

The proposed law dictates that the Colorado State Board of Marriage and Family Therapist Examiners would determine the curriculum of the classes. Critics of the proposal question why that Board has the authority to dictate the content of the classes. Those who oppose the ballot initiative also note that since the couple has to pay the costs associated with the classes, this law would serve as a barrier to poor people’s ability to get married. Additionally, many would have trouble fitting the classes into their schedules, as they have to work and have other obligations.

Others note that classes are no guarantee that marriages will not end in divorce, and classes cannot necessarily teach people what will work in their own unique relationships.

Speak with an attorney

No one goes into a marriage thinking it will fail. In some cases, however, marriages do not work and people need to get divorced. While people may debate whether classes will make it less likely that marriages will fail in the future, many are struggling in their marriages right now. Those who are considering divorce should seek the assistance of a skilled Colorado divorce attorney before proceeding too far. If you have questions about divorce, speak with a Colorado divorce attorney who can advise you of your options based on your specific circumstances.

Lynn Landis-Brown, P.C., represents clients in the Pikes Peak area, Front Range area, and Rocky Mountain area of Colorado, including Colorado Springs, Castle Rock, Monument, Woodmoor, Broadmoor, Manitou Springs, Fort Carson, Fountain, Cimarron Hills, Black Forest, Canon City, Woodland Park, Cripple Creek, Victor, Parker, Pueblo, Peterson Air Force Base, Schriever Air Force Base, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station; United States Northern Command (NORTHCOM), Northern American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), United States Air Force Academy (USAFA), El Paso County, Teller County, Douglas County, Adams County, Elbert County and Fremont County.