Colorado Legislative Council Staff



Drafting Number:

Prime Sponsor(s):

LLS 99-0337

Rep. Paschall

Sen. Lamborn


Bill Status:

Fiscal Analyst:

January 20, 1999

House Judiciary

Susan Colling (303-866-4784)



Fiscal Impact Summary

FY 1999/2000

FY 2000/2001

State Revenues

General Fund

Cash Fund

Possible Fee Revenue

Possible Fee Revenue

State Expenditures

General Fund



FTE Position Change

0.0 FTE

0.0 FTE

Other State Impact: TABOR

Effective Date: 90 days after adjournment unless a petition is filed

Appropriation Summary for FY 1999-2000: None

Local Government Impact: See Local Government Impact Section.

Summary of Legislation

            The bill creates the Covenant Marriage Act and defines certain terms used in the act. It allows parties wishing to commit to a lifelong marriage to enter into a covenant marriage by declaring their intent on their marriage license and by executing a declaration of intent. The declaration of intent would consist of the following;


               a written recitation signed and notarized by both parties agreeing to live together for so long as they both may live and committing to make all reasonable efforts to preserve their marriage during difficulties;

               a affidavit executed by both parties stating they have received premarital counseling from a leader of a faith community or a marital counselor on the nature, purpose, and responsibilities of a covenant marriage and the grounds for termination; and

               an attestation from a marital counselor that they counseled and provided both parties an informational pamphlet developed and promulgated by the Office of the Attorney General.

            The bill makes other laws relating to marriage and the rights of married women, domestic abuse, desertion and nonsupport, dissolution of marriage and legal separation, and child support applicable to covenant marriages. Parties of existing marriages may enter into a covenant marriage under this bill.

            The clerk and recorder of each county will forward each declaration of intent filed the preceding month to the State Registrar of Vital Statistics. The bill also identifies the grounds on which a party may seek a dissolution of marriage or legal separation and requires a marriage license to designate whether or not the marriage is a covenant marriage.

State Revenues

            There would be a fiscal impact on state revenues as a result of the bill. Persons in an existing marriage may file with the county clerk and recorder a declaration of intent to designate their marriage as a covenant marriage. At the time of filing this declaration, a fee of $17.00 would be collected, $10.00 of which would be credited to the Colorado Children's Trust Cash Fund and the Vital Statistics Records Cash Fund (as specified in Section 14-2-106, C.R.S.). Persons applying for a marriage license and filing a declaration of a covenant marriage are already subject to the fee as part of the marriage license application process. Therefore, the collection of these additional fees would only apply to those persons already married. The amount of fees collected have not been determined, although it is estimated to be minimal.

Local Government Impact

            The bill would have a fiscal impact on units of local government. The county clerk and recorder would be responsible for filing the documents required under this bill to declare the intent of the parties involved to enter into a covenant marriage. The bill applies to couples seeking a marriage license or couples already married who wish to designate their marriage as a covenant marriage. The workload of the county clerk and recorders would increase as a result of the extra filing procedures and the changes that would need to be implemented in computer programming. Since these declarations would be permanent records, a system of filing and retrieval would need to be developed and implemented. Additionally, the bill requires the clerk and recorders of each county to report to the state registrar of vital statistics the number of declarations filed during the preceding month. Although, the impact on local government cannot be estimated, it is anticipated that there may be a substantial increase in workload on the county clerk and recorders.

State Appropriations

            This fiscal note implies that no spending authority or appropriations would be required in FY 1999-00 to implement the provisions of the bill.

Departments Contacted

            Judicial           Law    Local Affairs