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Prenuptial and Marital Agreements

While some couples view prenuptial agreements as being unromantic and pessimistic, many more couples see them as an unfortunate necessity in today’s age of frequent divorce. Statistically, prenuptial agreements don’t make divorce more likely, and they can help couples determine their own financial destiny.

What Is a Prenuptial Agreement or Marital Agreement in Colorado?

A prenuptial agreement, also called a “prenup” or “marital agreement,” is a contract that outlines the property that each person in the relationship financially gains, should the marriage end in divorce. Many people feel that if they do a prenup or marital, they are telling the world that the marriage is not going to work. However, that could not be further from the truth. A prenup is signed before the marriage and a marital agreement is signed following a marriage.

Who needs a Prenuptial Agreement or Marital Agreement?

Contrary to popular opinion, many couples sign prenuptial agreements, even those without significant assets or those labeled as “wealthy” to protect themselves.

You NEED a prenuptial agreement if:

  • You want to address the reality that one partner is wealthier than the other
  • You want to protect assets you owned prior to marriage from being divided in a divorce
  • You want to address any debt obligations that are brought into the marriage, or acquired during the marriage, a benefit that applies to couples of all income levels.
  • You want to protect your children’s inheritance from a previous relationship
  • You want to protect or clarify a business interest
  • You and your spouse want to have a financial plan to determine ahead of time how your assets will be divided in a divorce, or
  • You need to settle the issue of spousal support. This can protect a financially less advantaged partner or offer protection for a spouse that is in a high income profession.

What issues can an Agreement cover?

There are a host of financial issues that a prenup may cover, including:

  • how each spouse’s premarital assets are treated during a divorce or legal separation
  • how assets that grow during the marriage are treated if the marriage ends
  • what happens to either spouse’s employee benefit or retirement plans
  • how debts are divided
  • whether each spouse is required to have life insurance, and what happens to the policy in the event of death or divorce including estate planning
  • whether a party will waive spousal support, set out a specific amount, including the amount and duration, and
  • any other matter that doesn’t violate Colorado law.

Can an Agreement Determine Child Custody and Child Support in Colorado?

A prenup or marital agreement does not cover child support or decisions about a child’s upbringing. Making decisions relating to children will occur at the time of the divorce, while a state calculator will dictate child support payments.

What makes my Prenuptial Agreement or Marital Agreement effective and enforceable?

Well Colorado follows the Uniform Prenuptial Agreement Act (UPAA), which is a set of laws that determine the enforceability of prenuptial agreements. Remember prenuptial agreements must be in writing and signed; oral agreements won’t be enforced.

Challenges to enforce a prenuptial agreement can be successful if the spouse challenging the agreement can prove:

  • the agreement was involuntarily or under duress such as forcing to sign before marriage for fear of harm. However, refusing to marry is not duress.
  • a lack of legal representation such as a lack of time to have review before the signing, or
  • limited or inaccurate financial disclosures from the other spouse. Disclosure and transparency are required to ensure that each spouse had a proper financial disclosure before signing the agreement.

If you are considering the need for a prenuptial or marital agreement please contact us right away.

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