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prenup lawyer denver

The word “prenup” conjures a lot of misconceptions for many people. Many believe that they don’t qualify for prenups, or that they’re a bad way to start a marriage. Fortunately for spouses-to-be, these two assumptions are simply not the case. No matter your financial situation, you still have the ability to acquire a prenup. A prenup can also help to start a marriage off on the grounds of trust and mutual respect for each other. If you want to speak to a prenup lawyer Denver about your situation, we’re here for you. 

Litvak Litvak Mehrtens and Carlton is a leading family law firm in Colorado. We have the knowledge and experience necessary to answer your questions and put you in the best position for a favorable outcome. To arrange a consultation with us, please call 303-951-4506 or fill out our online intake form today.

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 Issues Can a Prenup Agreement Cover in Colorado?

In 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 the 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.

Who Should Get a Prenuptial Agreement?

Contrary to common belief, prenuptial agreements are not just for the wealthy. While prenuptial agreements are commonly utilized to preserve the assets of a rich fiancé, couples of lesser incomes are increasingly using them for their own needs. Some people seek a prenuptial agreement for the following reasons.

  • Those wishing to pass property to their children from previous marriages. A prenuptial agreement can be used by a married couple with children from previous marriages to lay out what will happen to their property when they die. This allows them to leave separate possessions to their children while still providing for each other if appropriate. Without a prenuptial agreement, a surviving spouse may be entitled to a substantial percentage of the other spouse’s assets, leaving considerably less for the children.
  • Outlining financial rights. Couples, whether they have children or not, and whether they are affluent or not, may simply want to establish their financial legal obligations during their marriage.
  • To avoid arguments in case a divorce happens. Alternatively, they may wish to preempt future conflicts if they ever divorce by laying down how their assets will be shared and if either spouse would get alimony in advance. However, in a few states, a spouse’s entitlement to alimony cannot be waived, and in most others, a waiver of alimony will be closely investigated and will not be enforceable if the spouse who is giving up alimony does not have legal representation.
  • Achieve protection from the debts of your ex. Prenuptial agreements can also be used to shield couples from one other’s debts, as well as a variety of other concerns.

How to Ask for a Prenup

These contracts are growing more and more popular each year. Thus, many people are curious about how to approach their future spouse for one. Below, we include four things to keep in mind as you ask for a prenup.

Talk about the prenup as early as possible. 

Inquiring about a prenuptial agreement is likely to result in a serious discussion. The last thing you want to do just before the wedding is have that talk and any ensuing backlash. Apart from the fact that it may make the wedding less pleasant, you will already be preoccupied with a slew of practical difficulties in the run-up to the event. Have the talk shortly after you’ve been engaged, so you and your spouse know where you stand and any lingering concerns can be handled long before the wedding.

Maintain honesty about your reasoning, intentions, and concerns. 

Be careful to discuss the benefits of a prenuptial agreement as you begin the process. It’s also crucial to express any additional issues you might have. In the case of a divorce, a prenuptial agreement is designed to safeguard each party’s personal assets. It’s fine to state that you want to make sure you’re both financially self-sufficient in the event of a divorce, or that you don’t want to feel economically strapped or manipulated if the marriage doesn’t work out. As you create the document, these will be conversation starters.

Draft the document together.

A prenuptial agreement may help families of all types, whether there is one major income earner or two partners who earn about the same amount of money. Both spouses and their separate attorneys should work together to draft the prenuptial agreement. Ensure that your spouse believes the prenup answers their concerns rather than simply protecting yours. The more open the process is, and the less it appears like you are demanding things unilaterally, the better you will both be throughout the process. Treating the drafting process as a collaborative endeavor rather than a power struggle would make it much easier and less acrimonious.

Accept that the conversation might feel awkward. 

Bringing up the subject of a prenuptial agreement isn’t going to be easy. Many individuals have misconceptions about the goal of a prenuptial agreement, and even if they understand, the procedure can be unpleasant. Be aware that the discussion may get contentious, as you will need to address what will happen if your marriage does not survive forever. Consider discussing the prenuptial agreement with your partner in couples counseling or another constructive environment. You’ll get through it and emerge stronger on the other side if you work together and recognize that it’s a collaborative process that benefits both of you.

How Long Does a Prenup Last?

Prenuptial agreements generally continue for the duration of the marriage, unless the parties agree otherwise. Prenuptial agreements, on the other hand, frequently include expiration clauses. One of the most prevalent is an agreement that spousal support will not be paid unless they have been married for at least ten years. Many people would consider such a fair compromise. Otherwise, they are designed to be valid for the duration of the marriage.

What Happens When You Sign a Prenup?

It’s no surprise that divorce is both emotionally and financially draining. You can add any or all of the following particular terms in your prenuptial agreement if you want to lessen the cost and stress that normally comes with the legal procedure.

  • Outline separate and marital assets, then divide and separate them
  • Allocate debts to the proper parties
  • Establish spousal maintenance
  • Include provisions for children from a previous marriage
  • Keep your family’s property in your family

It is entirely up to you and your spouse whether or not to get into a prenuptial agreement. Even couples who have a prenuptial agreement must obey state rules and go through the legal divorce procedure. Before the judge ends your marriage, the court will have to rule on a number of legal problems. Although prenuptial agreements can include terms for assets and debt distribution, spousal maintenance, and even inheritance rights, there are certain important issues that you won’t be able to address in a prenup and will have to deal with during the official divorce process.

  • Child support, child custody, and parenting time
  • Spousal duties for the duration of the marriage
  • Daily tasks for one spouse or both

How Long Before a Wedding Should a Prenup Be Signed?

Your prenup should be signed well ahead of your wedding ceremony. It is suggested that you sign at least 30 days prior to the wedding. If the contract is later disputed, the court is less inclined to scrutinize whether one of the parties was under duress, coercion, or undue influence when they signed it. Signing the contract ahead of time guarantees that both parties have had enough time to think about it before getting married.

What Happens If You Don’t Sign a Prenup?

Colorado state laws dictate what happens to your property and debts in the event that you fail to sign a prenup. These laws apply in both cases of divorce and of the death of a spouse. Notably, Colorado is not a community property state. This means that the courts do not automatically assume that all property gained during a marriage is marital property. Because Colorado is an equitable distribution state, the courts seek fairness during divorce. This means that property division is less about being equal and more about being fair.

Marriage is regarded by the law as a contract between the married couple, and that relationship confers on each spouse some automatic property rights. In the absence of a prenuptial agreement, for example, a spouse typically has the right to do the following.

  • Share possession of property gained during marriage, with the intention of the property being shared between the spouses in the case of divorce or death 
  • Debts that the other spouse may be responsible for throughout the marriage
  • Share in the supervision and regulation of any marital or community property, which may include the ability to sell or give it away in specific cases

How to Get a Prenup Thrown Out

A judge may invalidate a prenuptial agreement if it contains an invalid clause, makes irrational assertions, or shows that a spouse signed the agreement under stress. Although the contract is legally enforceable, neither spouse should engage into it under duress, coercion, or when the conditions are unjust. Below, we list some of the reasons a judge might throw out a prenup.

  • Invalid or unfair clauses
  • Lack of property or assets
  • Infidelity
  • Signing while under coercion
  • Violating a state law
  • Not having proper legal representation

What Makes a Prenup Invalid?

A number of different things have the potential to invalidate a prenup. We list these below.

  • No written agreement exists. In order to enforce a prenup, it must be in writing.
  • Prenups must be signed before carrying out the marriage. If they sign the prenup after the marriage, it is invalid.
  • Someone coerced the other party into signing.
  • The two spouses never actually read the prenup agreement.
  • Not enough time existed for the two parties to review the final version or any revisions.
  • One or more terms of the prenup are legally invalid. This includes provisions that deal with child support, child custody, and breaking the law.
  • One or both parties lied somewhere in the prenup.
  • The information within the prenup is insufficient.
  • One or both parties did not have sufficient legal counsel.

Do I Need a Prenup Lawyer Denver to Write My Premarital Agreements?

Prenuptial agreements are governed differently in each state. You should consult with an attorney if you are unfamiliar with your state’s laws or if you are uncomfortable interpreting them. In certain areas, you may even be obliged to have your own counsel examine your prenuptial agreement.

Contact a Prenup Lawyer Denver, Colorado Today

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.