While love may be the basis for many weddings, matrimony’s legal foundation is established upon the law of contracts. Marriage may be one of the most important legal agreements into which a person enters because of its broad financial and social ramifications.

Because of a prenuptial agreement’s potentially serious implications, each party should consult an independent attorney before committing to the terms. A Littleton prenuptial agreements lawyer can help ensure that the premarital agreement protects your interests in the event the marriage does not pan out as planned.

Reasons for Using a Prenuptial Agreement

To protect one spouse’s assets or to shield one spouse from the other’s liabilities, both parties may agree to enter a prenuptial agreement, or pre-marital contract. In the best of circumstances, these are designed to give both spouses a sense of security about their financial state upon their marriage’s eventual end, whether by death or dissolution.

The Uniform Premarital and Marital Agreements Act, which Colorado adopted in July 2014, states that a prenuptial agreement is a contract between two people who intend to get married that modifies, waives, or affirms a marital obligation or right.

Some of the marital obligations or rights that a prenuptial agreement may dictate can include spousal support and financial maintenance, rights to property, responsibility for debt liabilities, and attorney’s costs and fees in the event of a marriage dissolution. In Littleton, a premarital contract attorney can guide one of the two spouses on determining whether the terms of the agreement represent their best interests.

Circumstances in which a Prenuptial Agreement is Invalid

To legally form a prenuptial agreement, it need only be in writing and signed by the two parties who intend to marry each other. The terms of the agreement take effect upon their marriage.

A pre-marital contract is unenforceable in Littleton if a party to the agreement proves one of the following:

  • The party consented to the prenuptial agreement under duress or involuntarily
  • The party had no access to independent legal representation
  • The prenuptial agreement did not contain an appropriate waiver of rights, unless the individual had independent legal representation
  • The party did not receive adequate financial disclosure

Independent Legal Representation

To satisfy the requirement that each party has access to independent legal representation before signing the prenuptial agreement, both individuals would have had reasonable time to decide whether they wished to retain a lawyer to represent them regarding the contract. They would also need sufficient time to retain an attorney and consider the advice.

Additionally, a party will be considered to have had access to independent legal representation if their intended spouse has representation and the individual has the financial means to pay for a premarital agreement lawyer, or if their intended spouse will pay for the expenses associated with independent representation.

Waiver of Rights

A valid prenuptial agreement requires language stating that the signatories to the document may be giving up their right to support from their spouse, the right to control or own property and money, or the right to have their legal fees paid by the other party. This language must be conspicuously displayed within the prenuptial agreement and cannot be somehow obscured.

Financial Disclosure

To satisfy the requirement for adequate financial disclosure, both parties must receive good-faith descriptions and value estimates of the other party’s assets, income, and liabilities.

Unenforceable Elements

In addition, there are certain terms within a prenuptial agreement that would render those specific items unenforceable. Unenforceable elements may include those that negatively affect a minor’s right to support, restricts the remedies available to a domestic violence victim, modifies the grounds for marriage dissolution, or otherwise violates public policy.

How a Premarital Agreements Attorney in Littleton Can Help

If your future spouse has requested that you sign a prenuptial agreement to preclude you from gaining access to their assets, or if you have requested that your intended partner sign a prenuptial agreement to protect them from your financial obligations, complex questions regarding fairness may arise. A Littleton prenuptial agreements lawyer can represent the interests of either you or your spouse as you decide on your agreement’s final terms. Call our firm to learn more.