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The Basics of Prenuptial Agreements in Colorado

Tolison & Williams | 25 September, 2017 | Family Law

Prenuptial Agreements in ColoradoWhen entering a marriage, the last thing you want to think of is divorce. That is why prenuptial agreements may be physically and mentally hard to digest for almost-wed couples.

Entering a prenuptial agreement does not mean that your couple has trust issues. On the contrary, it assumes that you are being honest about your current relationships and the future.

Most have this idea that prenups are only needed when one of the spouses is a high net worth individual. However, couples sign prenups for a variety of reasons, even when they don’t have any significant financial estate.

What is a Prenuptial Agreement (Prenup)?

Prenuptial agreements can be viewed as a legal contract that outlines the rights and responsibilities of each party when entering marriage, and occasionally include clauses on post-marriage support.

Specifically, a prenuptial agreement can outline:

  • How assets and debts will be distributed if the marriage ends, or if either of the partners dies
  • Whether each spouse will need to have a will to support the terms of these agreements further
  • How each party’s employee benefits and retirement plans will be distributed
  • Alimony payments (if any)
  • List any other additional provisions you may wish to include that does not violate Colorado state laws

A professional family lawyer can draft a prenup that would fit your particular situation and avoid any misunderstandings in the future.

Main Requirements For A Prenuptial Agreement in Colorado

Our Brighton family law firm suggests reviewing the stand prenuptial agreement form available at Colorado Judiciary website first. 

You can use it as a general framework and later customize it together with your attorney. However, it is important that your final agreement does not contradict the next provisions:

  • The prenuptial agreement (and any further amendments) must be put in writing. They cannot be delivered orally.
  • Spouses are required to fairly disclose their estate, and current financial obligations (if any).
  • You will need to state that you are entering the prenuptial agreement voluntarily.
  • No quid pro quo is required. Either of the spouses may choose to give up important statutory rights merely in exchange for the right to marry the other party.
  • If you wish to include a clause about spousal maintenance (alimony), the statement should be unconscionable at the time of enforcement. In simple words, the Colorado court can decide during the divorce whether the alimony amount is still fair in the current situation, and rule accordingly.

Additionally, a good divorce attorney should also warn you about the following provisions when a prenuptial agreement cannot be deemed valid: 

  • Either of the parties entered the agreement under coercion or duress.
  • Either of the parties concealed relevant financial information from another.
  • Either of the parties did not have the chance to seek legal advice before signing the contract.
  • The prenuptial agreement is unconscionable.

Enforceable and Unenforceable Provisions

A prenup is a versatile document, however, it cannot legally define or enforce all the matrimonial matters, especially during the divorce. 

Colorado courts typically ensure that the following provisions of a prenup are always enforced:

  • Suggest an asset division plan that fairly accounts for separate property/premarital assets of one party.
  • Outline spousal support amounts.
  • Decide which assets will pass along to specific recipients (e.g. children from another marriage).
  • Differentiate martial and non-martial debts and their settlement terms.

Additionally, you should account for the general unenforceable provisions that exist under Colorado law. 

Remember that you cannot include child support or child custody terms in your prenuptial agreement and Colorado courts will not enforce the following:

  • An attempt to avoid/waive the right to receive child support.
  • Take away one’s party’s right to seek custody, visitation rights or keep relationships with their children.

In case of a void marriage, Colorado judges will also enforce the prenuptial agreement provisions to a certain extent that is deemed to avoid unfair results.

If you have further questions about drawing a prenuptial agreements in Colorado, don’t hesitate to contact our professional team for expert advice.