Marriage is a binding contract between two people, with each party entering the legal relationship under unique circumstances. Some of the most contentious issues that can arise leading up to, during, or upon a marriage’s dissolution involve finances.
Colorado adopted the Uniform Premarital and Marital Agreements Act in July 2014. Working with a Littleton marital agreements lawyer to delineate precisely what will happen with regard to your assets, liabilities, and parenting responsibilities can prevent disagreements before they arise. You may choose to enter an agreement before the wedding with a prenuptial agreement or by executing a postnuptial agreement during marriage.
Absent a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in Colorado, each spouse in a marriage will generally have a claim to an equitable share of assets that the couple acquired during the marriage and equitable responsibility for debts incurred during the same time. Speak with our family law attorney for help with creating an enforceable marital agreement.
Couples who are engaged to marry may choose to enter a prenuptial agreement to ensure that one spouse is not negatively affected by the other’s debts or to effectively wall off assets upon the marriage’s eventual end, whether by death or dissolution. To be enforceable, each party to the prenuptial must sign the agreement voluntarily and without duress, and both parties should have the opportunity to consult independent legal counsel. This means that the same attorney cannot represent both parties to a Littleton marital agreement.
The agreement must also contain a disclaimer about waiving rights, as well as financial disclosure. To satisfy the waiver of rights requirement, the document must explicitly state that the signatories may be giving up rights they would have otherwise had as a spouse. For financial disclosure, both parties must provide good-faith estimates of their assets and liabilities to ensure the other party is deciding to sign based on all the information that exists at the time of signing.
Even if a couple has already executed a prenuptial agreement, they may also choose to sign a postnuptial agreement, which generally has the same requirements for validity. This is especially important for circumstances in which couples are contemplating separation or divorce, or one of the spouse’s financial position has substantially changed while the couple has been married.
Some of the most common issues that precipitate a postnuptial agreement and require the assistance of an attorney in Littleton who has experience with marital agreements related to money. A postnuptial agreement may be especially desirable if there is a significant wealth discrepancy between the partners when they enter the marriage, or one spouse inherits significant assets while married. It can also become important if the couple decides that one of the spouses will give up their career to care for children, creating a financial discrepancy that may not have existed when they married.
In a relationship built on love and trust, it may seem unromantic or pessimistic to sign an agreement with your fiancé or spouse that dictates the terms for when the marriage goes wrong. However, being able to establish these conditions early on can prevent contention later on.
If you wish to enter a spousal contract, a Littleton marital agreements lawyer could advise you on which type would be most beneficial given your circumstances. Call today to learn more.