When a couple comes together in a Colorado marriage they bring together their past relationships, children, inlaws, friends and, most importantly, their financial situation. This includes their credit histories, bank accounts and properties; both past assets and past liabilities. Traditionally, prenuptial agreements, or “prenups” were entered into as a means to protect a wealthier spouse from losing a large percentage of his or her fortune should the marriage end in divorce. However, especially in Colorado, there are other reasons why entering into a prenuptial agreement makes sense. The modern prenuptial agreement is for much more than just the protection of assets.
The requirements for a prenuptial agreement in Colorado are similar to a standard professional or business contract, with the following exceptions:
- The prenuptial agreement, and any amendments, must be written, not oral,
- No consideration (or quid pro quo) is required, which means one party may give up important statutory rights in exchange for nothing more than the right to marry the other party,
- Each party must make fair and reasonable disclosure of his/her property and financial assets and obligations,
- Each party must voluntarily enter into the prenuptial agreement (required for all contracts, but beware of a prenuptial agreement presented to the prospective spouse on the eve of a marriage), and
- If the prenuptial agreement addresses spousal maintenance (alimony), it must not be unconscionable at the time of enforcement. That’s the legal way of saying that a Colorado divorce court will not enforce a maintenance provision which is unfair at the time of divorce or legal separation, even if it was fair when the prenuptial agreement was signed.
The Modern Prenup
The modern perception of the prenuptial agreement is that is is not a plan for when things go wrong, but a plan for the future. The agreement can serve as a way to map out their future finances in response to the inevitable changes that come with marriage. Couples can anticipate and plan for a situation where one spouse goes back to school, one decides to stay at home with the children, or even what to do if a spouse is laid off of work. The prenuptial agreement may also be used as a plan for future savings or even retirement.
A major benefit of having a prenup, even if it is never enforced, is getting any major financial issues out on the table before the couple ties the knot. Some marriages start on a rocky road because partners have not disclosed pre-existing debts, credit histories, bankruptcies, child support obligations, credit card balances or properties. An undisclosed financial past can add an additional level of stress to the first year of marriage. By discussing a prenuptial agreement and getting full disclosure before the marriage, the parties can have realistic expectations of how their finances will look, as a married couple, and determine what steps they need to take to meet their future financial obligations.
Are you getting married in 2017 and are considering a prenuptial agreement? Let D. Mathew Blackburn help you craft an agreement and work with you and your future spouse to create a financial road map for the future of your married life. We are happy to help!
* Excerpt from http://www.colorado-family-law.com/prenuptial-agreements.htm