Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements in Colorado

Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements in Colorado

Prenuptial agreements are common and useful tools for determining the terms of a divorce if one should happen. However, they must include a detailed plan for property division and be enforceable. Hire an Aurora Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer to help you draft a prenup to avoid any pitfalls.

Section 14-2-301 of the Colorado Revised Code, the Uniform Premarital and Marital Agreements Act, allows the citizens of the Mile High State to enter into contracts with their soon-to-be and current spouses regarding the marriage. If such a contract is entered into before the marriage, it is called a prenuptial agreement. If entered into during marriage, it is called a postnuptial agreement. Together, these types of agreements are referred to as “marital contracts”, and you should discuss the benefits with an Aurora Family Law Lawyer

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What is Required For a Valid Marital Agreement in Colorado?

To be valid and enforceable, a Colorado marital contract must be “reasonable.” This means, according to C.R.S. 14-2-309(3), that the contract must include clear wording around any rights being waived (especially giving up alimony, property, taking on extra debt burden, as well as legal rights). Here are a few other key elements the agreement must have:

  1. Not violate any other laws (bigamy, domestic violence)
  2. Not be entered into under duress (pressure, threats)
  3. Waive at least one marital right (right to a jury trial, for example)
  4. Allow both spouses ample time to review the contract with their own attorneys before signing (the prenup can not be presented hours before the wedding as there would not be sufficient time for legal review)
  5. Cannot predetermine child custody or support
  6. Provide full and complete financial and property ownership disclosures from both spouses
  7. In writing (C.R.S. 14-2-306)
  8. Signed by both spouses

Colorado also weighs heavily on whether provisions of a marital contract are “unconscionable.” This means, for example:

  • It cannot prevent or penalize a spousal abuse victim for reporting violence or threats to the police
  • It cannot penalize the spouse who files for divorce or starts the separation

A postnuptial agreement becomes effective when it is executed (signed by both spouses) unless otherwise specified in the contract. A postnuptial agreement in Colorado, however, is not valid and enforceable if it is executed after either party has filed for divorce or legal separation. A prenuptial agreement becomes effective when the couple marries unless the agreement states otherwise.

Also read: Reasons to Discuss a Prenuptial Agreement

How Does a Prenuptial Agreement Work?

Aside from the fact that about half of all marriages today end in divorce, having a marital contract can protect you in the following ways:

  1. Protect a long-standing family business
  2. Protect against the other spouse’s pre-existing debts
  3. Having no surprises in the event of divorce, which generally means avoiding litigation and settling quickly and painlessly
  4. Protecting children from a previous marriage

Can a Marital Agreement Be One-Sided?

In short, yes. One spouse may give up some of their rights while the other gets access to more than they would otherwise be entitled to. An example might be that a husband will receive one million dollars from the wife in the event of their divorce. The wife does not need to have a similar award for the marital contract to be valid in Colorado.

What is Included in A Marital Property?

When it comes to divorce, Colorado is a marital property state instead of a community property one. Assets and debts acquired during the marriage are divided equitably between spouses upon dissolution of marriage, legal separation, or annulment. Marital property can include:

  1. Bank accounts
  2. Real estate equity
  3. Vehicles, RVs, boats
  4. Personal property and household goods
  5. Investments such as stocks and mutual funds
  6. Retirement accounts, for example, IRA, 401(k), FERS, PERA, and military retirement
  7. Stock options
  8. Business interests
  9. Pets
  10. Frequent flyer miles
  11. Increase in the value of the separate property during the marriage

You can and should address how these will be handled in your prenup. Prenuptial agreements typically trump the equitable division of property laws in Colorado. However, if a judge finds the agreement to be unfair or that it wasn’t executed correctly, the prenup will be invalid. If property division wasn’t thoroughly addressed in the prenup, the court will rely on Colorado law as the guiding factor. Many people seek the assistance of experienced Aurora prenuptial agreement lawyers to ensure that their agreement is drafted correctly so that it will be enforceable.

What Cannot be Included in A Postnuptial Agreement?

There are specific issues that prenup agreements generally can’t include, such as custody of future children or child support. One of the most crucial matters prenups can include is the division of property. Many times, this issue is the motivation behind creating such an agreement.

Prenuptial agreements usually dictate that some or all of the assets and debts that each spouse brings into the marriage be treated as their own separate assets or obligations. Agreements should also address:

  1. The division of joint assets
  2. How the assets or debts amassed during the term of the marriage will be treated

When you work with Aurora prenuptial agreement attorneys to draft a prenup, you can be assured that you are addressing all of the crucial aspects, including the division of property, if your marriage ends in divorce.

Getting Married? Call a Colorado Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer

A Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer from CNL Law Firm can assist you with any and all family law issues in Colorado, including both postnuptial and prenuptial agreements. Contact us today to set up a free, no-obligation consultation.

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