While it might not be very romantic to envisage the end of your relationship before your wedding day, there is a lot more than passion at stake in any marriage. Indeed, while many couples choose to forgo the protections of a prenuptial agreement, they later realize the importance of laying solid legal and financial planning for the day their marriage ends in divorce or death. These couples have another option: signing post-nuptial agreements.
Why Might I Need A Prenuptial Or Post-Nuptial Agreement Lawyer?
Marriage agreements, drafted with the help of experienced family law attorneys, help protect your financial or legal options when your marriage ends. Prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements serve to formalize certain conditions and procedures that come into effect after a divorce, or death, ends the marriage contract.
A prenuptial agreement must be signed before your marriage, but a post-nuptial agreement can be signed any time after your marriage but before a divorce.
In Colorado, these agreements can alter some, but not all, of your rights, or your children’s rights, after the dissolution of a marriage. Most notably you, and/or your future or current spouse, can choose to forgo some of your rights.
One thing is certain however, you should never sign either a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement without the advice and consultation of an experienced family law attorney. After all, doing so could invalidate the agreement entirely.
What Conditions Are Required For A Prenuptial Or Postnuptial Agreement?
Marriage agreements can be complex, as are the conditions that need to be followed for a court to consider them valid and implement one later. As a result, having a Colorado family law attorney draft or review your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement before you sign one is essential.
In fact, a judge might reject the agreement entirely if either party
- Did not understand the rights they were renouncing,
- Did not have access to a lawyer before signing the prenuptial or postnuptial agreement,
- Was not presented with accurate information about the other’s financial state or wealth,
- Signed under duress or involuntarily.
Having your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement supervised, drafted, or at least reviewed by an experienced family law attorney is thus essential. If you fail to do so, it may not afford any protections to you, your assets, or your children, should your marriage come to an end.
What Protections Can A Lawyer Write Into Prenuptial Or Postnuptial Marriage Agreements?
Regardless of whether you sign the agreement before or after your marriage, a lawyer can help you include several safeguards and protections in the event of the marriage’s later dissolution due to divorce, or death.
Most notably, in Colorado, couples can choose to include any or all of the following in their prenuptial or postnuptial agreement:
- Conditions, amounts, and duration for Alimony payments in the event of a divorce,
- Whether and how common properties, or individual pre-marriage properties, will be retained or divided,
- How financial assets, including bank accounts, retirement benefits, life insurance policies, stocks, and more will be handled after the marriage,
- How financial obligations or debts will be handled and/or divided
Note that while many of these can affect children’s inheritances, marriage agreements in Colorado cannot include provisions for modifying child support or child custody.
Such delicate and essential questions must be handled later, in the event of a divorce, through the court system if necessary, and always with the help of an experienced family law attorney.