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Understanding Prenuptial Agreements

So just about everyone at one point in their lives has heard a saying somewhere along the lines of, “You might want to get yourself a prenup.” Beyond that, everyone probably has some ability to guess the purpose of a “prenup.” While everyone may have some notion, the actual contours of antenuptial, premarital, or prenuptial agreements are slightly more complex. So buckle up, and prepare to dive into the fascinating world of prenuptial agreements.

What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A premarital, or prenuptial agreement, is a fairly simple concept. Put briefly, a prenuptial agreement is an agreement entered into by two people who intend to be married. Probably the most frequent situation in which people seek a premarital agreement is when there is a large income disparity between the parties. Maybe one person has a large estate or comes from a wealthy family, while the other person may not have many assets to speak of.

Meet Bob & Sally

Let’s say we’ve got a couple intending to marry, Bob and Sally. Sally is the heir to a huge estate, has substantial assets in her bank accounts, and owns a ton of property. On top of that, Sally is an older woman with some serious health issues. Now turn to her fiancée Bob — a handsome young twenty-something with no real wealth or assets. This is probably a situation in which Sally might want to get a prenuptial agreement to protect her interests.

How can it Protect Sally?

A prenuptial agreement can protect Sally in a number of ways, namely by limiting Bob’s rights in certain circumstances. For example, and not intended to be exhaustive, Sally’s prenuptial agreement may seek to limit Bob’s right to: receive maintenance, assert his right to various assets, file claims for attorney’s fees, or receive distributions after Sally’s death.

What are the Limits?

The quick and fast explanation for the limitation of premarital agreements is that they can’t go against what is deemed reasonable and appropriate. For example, Colorado’s laws prohibit prenuptial agreements that seek to accomplish any of the following objectives: limiting a child’s right to support, restricting the remedies available to a victim of domestic violence, modifying the grounds for legal separation or dissolution of marriage, penalizing a person for initiating legal proceedings that lead to legal separation or dissolution of marriage, or any other objective that violates public policy.

Are Prenuptial Agreements Enforceable?

In Colorado, prenuptial agreements are generally enforceable. As long as proper disclosures have been made, the agreement has been made voluntarily, and the documents are properly executed by both parties, chances are that the agreement will be enforceable. However, if the agreement was made under duress, one person was coerced to sign the agreement, the financial disclosures were incomplete/inaccurate, or its enforcement would be unconscionable, any of these may be grounds for making the agreement unenforceable.

Call Us If You Need Help

Whether you signed a prenuptial agreement or if you think you might need one before you get married, we encourage you to consult with a professional to seek help. Here at Modern Family Law, we have a team of attorneys prepared to assist you with your needs. We pride ourselves on our ability to offer free consultations with our team of skilled attorneys. So please do yourself a favor, pick up the phone and call us today.

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