Colorado Prenuptial Agreements
There are a few different types of marital agreements in Colorado, one of them being prenuptial agreements. Prenuptial agreements in Colorado, also referred to as a marital or pre-marital agreement, is a contract between two parties prior to their marriage. When you are preparing to get married, you do not want to think about the possibility of divorce. However, it is always important to prepare for the unexpected. Divorces can be contentious and extremely stressful, both emotionally and financially. Discussing a pre-marital agreement with an attorney is always a good idea. An attorney can explain to you how a pre-marital agreement can be beneficial and reduce future conflicts.
Many people wonder whether they need a prenuptial agreement. If you have any property that you are bringing into the marriage, or you have children from a prior relationship, prenuptial agreements can protect those assets in the event of a divorce or upon your death.
Pre-marital agreements can address many different issues including spousal maintenance (alimony) and property division should the parties divorce. Prenuptial agreements can address existing and future assets acquired during the marriage. Although pre-marital agreements are often thought of negatively, there are many advantages to having one in place. It is not always about keeping assets out of one of the party’s hands but it can also be used to ensure that both parties are taken care of should a divorce happen. They also give you the control over your assets to ensure your children are taken care of or to protect inheritances and assets passed down through the family in the event of divorce or death.
It is important to note that a pre-marital agreement cannot determine child custody or child support in the event of a divorce. However, the pre-marital agreement can reduce the conflict and stress associated with dividing assets and debts so you can focus on the most important issues relating to your children.
A post-marital agreement, also referred to as a postnuptial agreement, is a contract between two parties during their marriage. We typically see these happen quickly following the beginning of the marriage. A post-marital agreement cannot be in anticipation of a divorce. In many cases, the parties simply ran out of time prior to marriage to get a pre-marital agreement drafted and signed.
If you are already married and have questions regarding whether a post-marital agreement will be beneficial to you, please contact the Northern Colorado family lawyers at CCFL, to schedule a consultation.
Enforcement of Pre-marital Agreements and Post-Marital Agreements
Colorado statute requires that a pre-marital agreement be in writing and entered voluntarily by both parties to be enforceable. Having either a pre-marital agreement or post-marital agreement can be a crucial part of dissolving a marriage with the least amount of conflict possible. When these types of agreements are presented in a dissolution of marriage, the Court will look at different factors to determine its validity. For example, the Court will examine the timing of the agreement, the opportunity for reflection and the legal representation prior to the execution of the agreement. They also check to make sure the agreement does not violate public policy.
It is important to consult with a skilled family law attorney while drafting either agreement. There may be provisions that violate public policy, are unconscionable or violate laws. Without proper counsel, these issues can be undetected until a divorce or death is imminent. Unfortunately, at that point it is too late. Having an invalid pre-marital agreement or post-marital agreement can cause significant issues during the divorce or upon your death.
When going through a divorce the question of “marital property” and “separate property” will come into question. Many people believe that if the asset is in their name, that means that it is “separate property”. However, if this asset was obtained during the marriage or gained any significant value during the marriage, it can be determined to be “marital property” or have a “marital property” component, which will be subject to division. This misunderstanding can cost a party significant assets which they believed they were entitled to. Having an agreement in place prior or during the marriage can clearly outline what assets are “separate” and which are “marital”.
Having a prenuptial agreement in place can help protect your assets for your family in the event of your death. Without a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, your spouse may be entitled to assets that you wanted to preserve for your children. A prenuptial agreement can make it easy for your family to determine what is or should be protected for particular members of your family, reducing unwanted stress and conflict among family members during their time of grief.
Contact Our Family Lawyers Today to Discuss Marital Agreements in Colorado
Contact a family lawyer at Choice City Family Law, LLC. to determine if a marital agreement is an appropriate part of your estate plan or a beneficial document for you if you are considering getting married. We help clients around Northern Colorado including Larimer County, Weld County, and Boulder