What Is the Purpose of a Prenuptial Agreement?
If you are going to be getting married, you may be considering a prenuptial agreement. The purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to protect property that a party owns prior to the marriage and also possibly to address support, maintenance, or alimony that will be paid at the conclusion of the marriage if there is a divorce.
The way it works with property in Colorado is that any property that a party owns prior to the marriage is that party’s separate property. However, increase in value in that property during the marriage is marital property. One of the primary purposes of a prenuptial agreement is to basically undo that rule so that not only is property that a party owns prior to the marriage still their separate property, but also any increase in value in that property during the marriage remains that party’s separate property. That is one of the primary purposes of a prenuptial agreement.
A prenuptial agreement can also state that any retirement fund that a party contributes to or earns during a marriage will remain that party’s separate property, or the prenuptial agreement can say that other assets would remain a party’s separate property and not be subject to division at the time of a divorce.
The other issue that gets addressed in prenuptial agreements is maintenance. Maintenance is what we call alimony, or spousal support, in the state of Colorado. You can put in a prenuptial agreement that there will be no maintenance, or how much maintenance will be, how long it will last. However, maintenance is not as cut and dried as the property division assets of a prenuptial agreement.
The rule in the state of Colorado is that the court must find that any provisions in a prenuptial agreement are fair at the time of the divorce. Although you can address that issue in the agreement, it is not necessarily guaranteed that the court is going to do what the prenuptial agreement says.
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