Marital Agreement Lawyer in Fort Collins
Drafting Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements
If you are about to be married, you may be considering a prenuptial agreement. Prenuptial agreements are contracts entered into by two parties getting married that can help plan for their financial future in the case of divorce. If you are already married, you can still enjoy the benefits of a marital agreement by signing a postnuptial agreement.
At my firm, Levi A. Brooks, Attorney at Law, I represent individuals who are considering entering into a marital agreement. As an experienced Fort Collins marital agreement attorney, I take the time to educate my clients of their rights and options and ensure that their contracts protect their rights effectively.
Call (970) 293-8371 to get started with a free consultation.
Marital Agreements Are Not Only for the Wealthy
Some people mistakenly believe that you only need to consider a prenuptial agreement if you are wealthy. Marital agreements are very versatile and can be drafted for couples from all walks of life.
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can address:
- The division of assets
- The division of debt
- Alimony/spousal support
- Attorney’s fees
No matter your situation, marital agreements can provide for your future financial security and help make the divorce process go more smoothly if divorce becomes unavoidable.
Protect Your Premarital Property
When you get divorced in Colorado, the courts differentiate between marital property and separate property. All marital property is divided between the parties. Separate property includes any property that the parties owned before marriage, but any increase in the premarital property is considered marital property and will be divided upon divorce. A marital agreement can protect the increase in value and make sure it is treated as separate property.
A marital agreement can also ensure that other property will remain separate, including any retirement fund or employee benefit plan that a party contributed to or earned during the marriage.
Addressing Spousal Maintenance in a Marital Agreement
In your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, you and your partner can include provisions providing for the amount and the duration of spousal maintenance. You can even have a clause stating that there will be no spousal maintenance.
However, there is no guarantee that the court will follow your agreement. The court will only approve the provisions relating to spousal maintenance if they find that the terms are fair at the time of divorce. It does not matter if the agreement was fair at the time the parties signed it.
Ensuring a Valid Marital Agreement
As with any contract entered into in Colorado, the law has requirements that must be met for a marital agreement to be valid.
To ensure validity:
- The agreement and any amendments must be written and signed.
- The parties must make a fair and reasonable disclosure of his or her property, financial assets, and obligations.
- Each party must enter into the agreement voluntarily. If you were forced to sign the agreement because you feared for your physical or psychological safety, the agreement will not be valid.
- One party cannot be prevented from seeking the advice of legal counsel. The courts may declare a prenuptial agreement invalid if it is entered into on the eve of the marriage and one party was not represented.
A prenuptial agreement does not need to be quid-pro-quo. It is not necessary for one party to give up rights in exchange for rights. However, the court will not approve a prenuptial agreement that is unconscionable; an agreement will not be accepted if it leaves the other party destitute.
Although marital agreements can be very broad, there are certain things that you cannot address.
- Have provisions regarding the payment of child support. A parent cannot contract away his duty to support his child. Child support will be calculated by the Colorado courts no matter what a marital agreement states.
- Have a provision modifying the grounds for divorce. Colorado is a no-fault state. This means that there does not need to be any fault on the part of either spouse for a divorce to be granted. A prenuptial agreement cannot modify Colorado law and allow divorce only if a spouse is unfaithful, abusive, or neglectful.
- Have a provision penalizing a spouse for getting a divorce.
- Have a provision stating child custody arrangements. The judge will determine child custody as the time of the divorce by deciding what is in the best interest of the children.
Modifying or Revoking a Marital Agreement
You are free to modify a marital agreement if circumstances or feelings change. The only requirement for the modification to be valid is that it must be in writing and be signed by both parties.
Work with a Trusted Fort Collins Marital Agreement Attorney
If you are considering a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, it is in your best interest to work with a knowledgeable legal professional. I can help you draft the contract or review it to ensure it is legally sound and detailed enough to properly protect your rights in the event of divorce.