You’re having a romantic dinner, just the two of you, when the love of your life pops the question. It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. You don’t even need to think about it. You breathlessly blurt out, “Yes, I’ll marry you!” After slipping a beautiful engagement ring on your finger, he asks another question, a question you were not expecting at a happy moment like this.
“Honey, will you sign a prenuptial agreement?”
You’re caught off guard. Do you:
a. Burst out into tears and ask him why he doesn’t trust you? Or
b. Discuss his reasons for wanting a prenuptial agreement and consider the possibility that it could be beneficial to both of you in the long run?
Let’s take a look at why “B” is the best option.
In Colorado, couples have the legal right to enter into a contract before their marriage (“prenuptial”) to discuss property rights and other important issues. Prenuptial (sometimes called “prenups”) agreements are appropriate in many different situations, not just when one or both parties is very wealthy.
Prenuptial agreements do more than just protect a party who is entering a marriage with a disproportionately large amount of assets. In the absence of a prenuptial agreement and without a valid will, the law will decide what assets go to the surviving spouse no matter what the true intentions were of the deceased spouse. Moreover, it makes good sense for couples to understand what their financial rights and responsibilities are prior to entering into marriage.
In jurisdictions that follow the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act – and most do – there are several requirements for a validly executed prenuptial agreement.
First, the agreement must be in writing; there are no oral prenuptial agreements.
Second, the agreement must be executed voluntarily; if it is found that either party signed the agreement under duress or unfair pressure from the other side, it will not be enforced.
Third, the agreement must not be unconscionable; if it leaves one party destitute or places an unreasonable burden on one party.
Fourth, in order for a prenuptial agreement to be enforceable in Colorado, each party must adequately disclose his or her assets, liabilities, and income to the other party.
Fifth, an important requirement to ensure that a premarital agreement is enforceable, is to make sure that both parties have access to his and her independent attorneys.
Lastly, the agreement needs to be validly executed by both parties in other words, the prenup needs to be notarized.
The contents of a Colorado prenuptial agreement typically cover:
- Property division
- Assets held before marriage
- Assets acquired during marriage
- Debts held before marriage
- Debts acquired during marriage
- Tax filing status
*A prenuptial agreement cannot contract for the custody of children (especially those not yet born). Similarly, a prenuptial agreement is not enforceable with regard to child support. You cannot validly predetermine how much you will pay in child support in a prenuptial agreement. The court will follow state guidelines.
Although prenuptial agreements are not the most romantic thing to think about as you’re about to get married, they can give you peace of mind knowing that you have a secure financial future. If you are considering a prenuptial agreement created for you and your soon-to-be spouse, you will need the help of an experienced Denver family attorney. Our team at Lewis & Matthews P.C. can make sure that it is drafted correctly and is enforceable in court.