WHAT IS A PRENUP?
Denver Prenup Lawyer
There are several misconceptions about prenups. One of the most common is that you need to be a wealthy couple to seek a prenup. This is not the case. Whether you’re a wealthy individual or simply making it from paycheck to paycheck, a prenup is a great planning tool for your financial future. Hiring a prenup lawyer is crucial to the success of your agreement. Litvak Litvak Mehrtens and Carlton, P.C. has decades of experience in family law matters such as prenup agreements. If you’re seeking a prenup lawyer, call our offices today to see how we can help you.
What Is A Prenup Agreement?
A prenup, or prenuptial agreement, is a legally binding contract between two individuals. It generally (but not always) takes place before a marriage and establishes things like property rights, should the couple end up getting divorced. A prenup contract might establish things like spousal maintenance, debt settlements, and asset division. Without a prenup, marriages that end in divorce in Colorado must equitably distribute all assets between both spouses.
When creating a prenuptial agreement, both parties must provide a complete inventory of their assets. In the case that you want to keep your property separate, you must confirm which assets will remain as property of the original owner. If you have any type of personal property acquired prior to the marriage and that you wish to remain separate, you may want to consider a prenup.
What Should Be Included In A Prenup?
n a prenup, couples are able to adjust the agreement to fit their specific wants and needs. Every marriage is different, and a prenup reflects that. Some things that are most often included within a prenuptial agreement are details of how assets, wealth, and debts will get divided after a divorce. Prenups are useful for distinguishing what will be considered marital property and what will be considered separate. You may also determine who will keep the marital home, as well as who will need to pay mortgage, insurance, or taxes on it.
Another thing you might want to consider including in your prenup is how retirement plans, student loans, or business assets will be handled. This would also be a good time to decide who gets to keep any pets shared between the two of you in the event of a divorce.
Do I Need A Prenup Lawyer?
One reason why it is so important to have a prenup lawyer is so that you can avoid having a court declaring your agreement invalid. If the prenup seems unfair to a court and the couple didn’t have legal representation in drafting it, they may consider it illegitimate and disregard your wishes completely.
In Colorado, the court won’t enforce a prenup if the challenging spouse can prove the following:
The agreement was signed involuntarily or under duress
They didn’t have access to legal representation
The spouse didn’t receive proper financial disclosures from the other spouse prior to signing the agreement
Having a prenup lawyer can help ensure that all of the requirements for the prenup were met and that the agreement cannot be challenged or disproved.
Each state is different in their rules for prenuptial agreements. In some states, it is mandatory that you have a lawyer when drafting a prenup. This is not the case in Colorado, as the law allows spouses to sign the prenup without an attorney present. However, the judge may take the lack of legal representation into account when deciding whether the agreement is valid or not.
Some states also have strict timelines in place for when a prenup will or won’t be considered valid. If you're unfamiliar with the laws of your state, you need someone who has knowledge and experience in this area.
What is spousal maintenance?
A judge will determine if you or your spouse are eligible for spousal support. Though in high asset divorces, spousal maintenance or support is almost always required.
Also in a high asset divorce, it’s sometimes difficult to uncover the entirety of the financial circumstances. In some cases, spouses may hide assets to avoid division or increasing their amount in spousal maintenance.
Your lawyer will work to uncover any of these hidden assets to ensure you get a fair distribution.
Once all the assets have been made known, the judge will determine the need for spousal support. Some of what they will consider include:
- Gross income of each party
- Age and physical health of each party
- Distribution of marital property
- Financial resources of each party and their contributions to the marriage
- Financial need and lifestyle established by the marriage
- The employment status/ability for employment of each party
If the judge decides that support is appropriate in your case, they determine the amount using a specific formula. This is 40% of the higher earning income minus 50% of the lower earning income. Though this is generally the formula used, it is not always set in stone. Every circumstance and court is different and unique to each party.
Contact Denver High Asset Divorce Attorneys
If you are considering a prenuptial agreement or if you simply have questions regarding one, we can help. At Litvak Litvak Mehrtens and Carlton, we’re dedicated to providing Colorado with the best possible representation in all family law matters. Contact us to discuss your case today. You can schedule a consultation by completing our online form or give us a call at 303-951-4506.