Like in many other states, Colorado couples have the right to create and sign a contract before their marriage, called a prenuptial agreement. This legally binding document can address a broad range of issues important to the couple, including property rights and specific provisions in the event of a divorce. If a married couple wants to establish such a contract, they have the opportunity to sign a post-nuptial agreement.
No matter the extent of your assets, hiring a reputable attorney who specializes in family law is important when preparing a prenuptial agreement. This ensures that your contract adheres to any relevant state laws and effectively protects your rights and property if you and your spouse ever get a divorce. A prenuptial agreement can play an active role in keeping things amicable during a divorce and making the process go smoothly.
What a Prenuptial Agreement Can and Cannot Cover
A prenuptial agreement can include the following elements if the couple divorces:
- What you determine as marital property
- How to divide marital property
- What happens to your spouse’s employee benefits or retirement plans when listed as a dependent
- How to divide mortgage, credit card, or any other type of debt
- How to raise the children born during your marriage
- Where each spouse can live afterward
Colorado law does not allow a prenuptial agreement to predetermine child custody or child support. The court decides on such matters based on the couple’s specific situation and the child’s best interests during the divorce proceedings.
You may include provisions about alimony in your prenuptial contract. However, a Colorado court has the right to remove them if they consider that they would cause significant hardship to one spouse.
A prenuptial agreement is only valid after the couple is officially married. The contract must be established in written form and signed. No oral agreement is legally binding or enforceable.
If you choose to sign a prenuptial contract, you should avoid doing this the day before the wedding. A court may decline to endorse it if you file for divorce.
Should either spouse request to modify or revoke the prenuptial agreement at any point, including while seeking a divorce, both parties must find an agreement and put any change in writing before signing the amendment.
Filing for Divorce When You Have a Prenuptial Agreement
Colorado abides by the Uniform Prenuptial Agreement Act or UPAA to determine whether a court can uphold a prenuptial agreement during a divorce.
If one spouse challenges the prenuptial, they must prove that they:
- Signed the contract involuntarily or under duress such as harm, abuse, or threats
- Did not have access to an attorney
- Did not receive adequate financial disclosure, including assets and debt, from their other spouse before signing
A judge usually considers the following provisions as unlawful and will not enforce them:
- Any attempt to impact child support or visitation schedules, especially at the expense of one of the parents
- Penalizing the spouse filing for divorce
- Preventing a victim of domestic abuse from receiving legal assistance
- Anything that violates the law or would force one of the spouses to do so
Colorado allows you to sign a prenuptial agreement without an attorney, but your contract must include a waiver. A judge may consider the lack of legal representation into account when deciding whether to enforce the prenuptial during your divorce proceedings.
Are you considering establishing a prenuptial agreement in Colorado Springs? Contact Clawson & Clawson, LLP, today at (719) 602-5888 to schedule a consultation!