Getting a prenup in Colorado (also called a “marital agreement”) is common and not just for wealthy individuals. Many couples with even slight “means” see the value of a prenup, often because they do not know what the future may hold or they already know how much a divorce could actually cost them.
A prenup is wise for the following current or potential future reasons:
- One or both spouses/partners want to protect their assets that have accumulated before the marriage so that they are not subject to division during a divorce.
- One or both spouses/partners want to protect assets that are already earmarked for children from a prior marriage or relationship.
- One or both partners has business assets that they don’t want to be divided in a divorce.
- Spouses/partners want to decide in advance how assets will be divided in the event of a divorce.
However, in all the pre-wedding hustle & bustle, legal matters typically end up being the last (and the forgotten) on the agenda. If this was your case, fret not. You still have the options to draft an agreement with your spouse after the ceremony.
Can a Couple Get a Prenup After Marriage?
The answer is yes, but it is actually called a “postnuptial agreement,” and it is more common than you think. Couples enter into postnuptial agreements for all of the reasons that they enter into prenups, but there are also some additional reasons, because their circumstances may change. Here are a few examples:
- One spouse inherits a sum of money that they want to pass on to children from a previous marriage or relationship and wants that inheritance protected. Generally, inheritances belong to the individual, so long as the assets remain in just that person’s name, but a postnup reinforces this.
- One spouse starts a business and, as it grows, they want to protect it should there ever be a divorce.
- One spouse gives up their career in order to stay home with the kids. Division of the assets accumulated by the working spouse should be predetermined in the case of divorce.
- Responsibility for spousal and child support in the event of a divorce can be defined in a postnup.
- If one partner came into the marriage with a home and certain assets, a postnup can protect those assets in the event of either divorce or death of the owning partner.
How to Secure a Postnuptial Agreement
While couples may try to write up a postnup themselves and simply have it notarized, this is a mistake. A family lawyer who is experienced in pre- and post-nups and who is also a divorce attorney is the best course of action. These specialists understand what should be included and can ask the right questions as the agreement is hammered out. Here are two important considerations as you look at a postnup.
- You and your spouse/partner should have separate attorneys. If you use a single attorney, the court may scrutinize the agreement more for fairness, especially duress.
- Colorado law already determines the division of property in cases of divorce or death. But, they will uphold a postnup that divides things differently, if it has been done right. In essence, this agreement will keep control of property, assets, and division in your hands rather than in those of the court.
If you are considering a postnup, you need the right advice. Our Brighton Family Law team is here to answer all of your questions and help you determine the right path to getting this done.