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What Is a Prenup? 5 Prenup Truths

what is a prenup agreement

Many people have misconceptions or misgivings about prenups. We have a lot of clients come to us and ask, “What is a prenup?” Many clients believe that prenups are only for wealthy clients, but that simply isn’t true. A prenup is a perfect planning tool for any couple heading for marriage. It helps countless couples every year feel a little better about the security of their financial futures. And, who doesn’t want that? Hiring a prenup lawyer is the best way to start the process of forming and finalizing your prenup.

The experienced Denver family lawyers at Litvak Litvak Mehrtens and Carlton, P.C. have extensive skills in developing prenuptial agreements. We are dedicated to providing the best possible representation in family and divorce matters to Colorado residents. If you and your partner are considering this option, we invite you to contact us about your case. Call our Denver office at 303-951-4506 today for a consultation or fill out our online intake form.

What is a Prenup Agreement?

Let’s get down to business. What is a prenup? These written agreements are basically contracts that you enter into with your spouse. Most couples choose this option prior to marriage. The contract outlines what happens to your personal finances and assets during the marriage or in the event of divorce. Additionally, these documents provide an excellent opportunity for couples to understand what their rights are and which rights they give up after marriage. Should you choose not to have a prenup, Colorado laws and the court systems will then dictate how everything plays out. If you feel that the default rules aren’t for you, prenups are a great second option.

Generally, prenups are a one-time negotiation between you, your partner, and your lawyers. Working together is the key to a fair and successful prenup agreement, much like marriage itself. Creating rules that you both agree on sounds much more appealing than letting the state decide down the line. Without a prenup, state laws govern how your assets and debts are divided, as well as spousal support, or alimony.

What Does a Prenup Do?

The most important thing to remember about a prenup agreement is that it only protects certain things. These documents are not law, so there is certainly a limit to what they can achieve. In this section, we outline what prenups can and cannot do.

What a Prenup Does:

  • Protect the rights, as well as obligations, of both parties in terms of property.
  • Also protects the right to make decisions concerning that property.
  • Outlines what happens to property in the event of separation, death, or other events.
  • Decides which laws have jurisdiction over the interpretation of the prenuptial agreement.
  • Decides where legal proceedings are held, if necessary.
  • Other decisions about personal matters, rights, obligations, and more.

What a Prenup Cannot Do:

  • Cannot contain arrangements which violate laws or public policies.
  • They do not include concrete plans for spousal support. Depending on the state, these plans may or may not be backed in court.
  • They do not determine child support. Courts follow state guidelines on this matter.
  • They do not force the parties to agree. Prenups only work if both parties enter into the agreement willingly.

What is Prenuptial Marriage?

Prenuptial marriages occur when two people sign a prenup agreement before getting married. However, some people choose to sign what is known as a postnuptial agreement. Technically, they do all the same things that a prenup does. They just have a different name because of the time of signing in relation to the marriage. Some couples consider prenups after marriage for a variety of reasons. They don’t necessarily mean that the couple is already contemplating divorce. Below, we list the reasons why some people might choose to sign a prenup after marriage.

  • If you and your partner struggle with financial differences or difficulties such as debts, prenups help to iron them out. Sometimes, separating your finances helps to reconcile the issues associated with them.
  • Even if you are extremely happy during the marriage, prenups after marriage provide for those unforeseen “what ifs.” If something should happen to the marriage, the postnuptial agreement covers all the bases.

Do Prenups Ruin Marriages?

Many people have different opinions about how they view prenup agreements. Some see them as an absolute necessity, while others feel threatened by them. Below, we outline how prenups create conflict and how they create stability.

The Pros:

  • Establishing fairness and transparency with personalized terms.
  • Compensating both partners appropriately.
  • Simplicity in cases of divorce.

The Cons:

  • Forces couples to think about money and divorce from the start.
  • Current legal systems often ensure better equality than a prenup.
  • Sometimes, they don’t even hold up in court.

Should I Get a Prenup Agreement?

Now that you understand what exactly prenups do and don’t do, you’re probably wondering if they’re right for you. The first step we recommend is to talk with your partner openly about it. Bring it up, express your thoughts, and then ask them for theirs. It’s important to address the needs of both parties. Additionally, a number of different reasons exist for people wanting to get prenups. Below, we include common reasons behind getting a prenup.

  • One or both parties has been married before.
  • One or both parties have children.
  • Someone is notably wealthier than the other.
  • One has more debt than the other.
  • One or both owns their own business or is an entrepreneur.
  • You and your partner were engaged for only a short period of time.
  • You and your spouse want to keep your finances separate.
  • One of you does not want to work.

Call Colorado’s Most Respected Family Law Firm

Considering a prenup or postnup is a completely valid thing to do in a relationship, especially those with complicated finances, high value assets, or other personal reasons. If you and your partner wish to discuss a prenup, the family law attorneys at Litvak Litvak Mehrtens and Carlton are here for you. We provide the best possible representation for those considering prenups, divorce, and even child custody agreements. To discuss your case with us or schedule a consultation, please call 303-951-4506.

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