Marital Agreements

Prenuptial Agreements

Most people are familiar that legal assistance can be helpful, even necessary, when relationships end.  However, legal assistance can be helpful through many different stages of a relationship including before property is acquired jointly, before cohabitation, marriage, children, etc.

There is often a stigma around couples entering into a prenuptial or post nuptial agreement. Some view it as a step to divorce, as though the couple has no plans to stay together.   Simply put, it is a contract.  An opportunity to ‘clear the air,’ share your unique concerns and address what you feel is necessary to move forward in your life together with a solid, mature understanding of assets and liabilities and a real sense of security.

It can be helpful for a couple to decide how assets and liabilities will be divided at a time when they feel loving and respectful toward each other.   It is in agreement in contemplation of marriage.   Not in contemplation of divorce.

Reasons to Have a Prenuptial Agreement

Prenups, as they are often called, are used for several reasons. One is to protect assets when one person has significantly more than the other.   Later in life, many of us have children from prior relationships for whom we wish to provide, or perhaps we are caring for elderly parents who need our continued support.  Very often, there are family businesses or trusts that control one’s ability to utilize or share resources.  Except for the terms Colorado has expressly said may not be included by law, the agreement can be as wide or narrow as the couple chooses.

  • It must be in writing and signed by both parties.
  • Consent must be voluntary and it must not have been signed under duress.
  • There must be a statement that both parties had access to legal counsel.
  • Financial disclosures must be complete. If it is later discovered that one party hid assets, the agreement will not be enforceable.
  • An agreement as to spousal support upon divorce may be included in the agreement, but it may be modified by the court at the time of the divorce if, at that time, the court finds the agreement unconscionable.
  • Neither party can waive the right to child support, limit any remedy for domestic violence or to penalize either party for initiating a divorce or separation action.

For your prenuptial agreement, contact me, Helen Towlerton at (303) 440-5583.  I have the experience, knowledge and understanding you need to help you as you begin your marital journey.

Post Nuptial Agreements

Many people forego nuptial agreements when they get married for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the most common is that they’re just getting started financially and haven’t accumulated significant wealth or assets, parents and grandparents are still living and inheritances and other family obligations haven’t yet presented themselves.   As you build a marital and personal financial portfolio, it may be in your best interest to explore a post nuptial agreement as a proactive amicable financial arrangement to ease your mind and provide a needed sense of security.

Importance of a Post Nuptial Agreement

In Colorado, post-nups are often drafted to articulate the rights and responsibilities of couples during the marriage and what happens should they divorce or separate. These contracts identify things such as assets, property, financial appreciation, debts and expected income among others. Some postnups include penalties for behavior detrimental to the marriage such as infidelity. But the primary basis of the legal document is to lessen anxiety over potential expensive litigation.

Post Nuptials Have Positive Implications

Some people think of nuptial agreements as a sign they lack commitment to the marriage and each other. In many ways, pre-nups show the exact opposite attitude. These agreements demonstrate an open and fundamental fairness toward each other and are grounded in the reality that staying married can be difficult for a variety of reasons. Here are some of the things you can accomplish with a post-nup.

  • Designate Assets: A post nuptial agreement allows you to set aside certain assets from the marital estate. This means they would not be disputed later and that tends to give spouses peace of mind.
  • Behavior: When couples deal with problems such as alcoholism, substance abuse and infidelity, a post-nup can define personal responsibilities that help support a healthy marriage.
  • Extended family obligations:  Inheritance and individual businesses can alter personal finances and that wealth can be fairly addressed in the contract. It may also outline the financial implications of being a full-time homemaker and primary child caregiver.
  • Reduces Litigation: Marriages often end with hard feelings and that creates a difficult environment to agree on monetary and child custody issues. A post-nup allows people to make clear-headed decisions in their own and in their children’s best interests in advance and reduce potential legal battles and acrimony.

Working with an attorney can help married couples clarify rights, responsibilities and assets in an amicable fashion.   My experience in family and business law is helpful to clients when creating fair and equitable marital agreements.  Call today for a consultation.  303-440-5583.