Marital agreements refer to both pre-nuptial agreements and post-nuptial agreements, which must be in writing and signed by both parties to be valid. Colorado courts regularly uphold the validity of these agreements unless they are found to have been entered involuntarily.
Throughout the marriage and divorce process courts in Colorado consistently emphasize a preference for the agreements reached between parties regarding how property should be distributed. That same idea applies when a couple decides to enter a contract which sets out what property is to be considered personal, and what property is to be considered marital. These agreements can cover any matter related to how property will be shared or distributed by the couple while married or in the event of separation. Pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements can even cover how some assets are handled in the event of the death of a spouse, or how certain insurance benefits should be distributed within some limitations set by statute.
Marital agreements have some special aspects that can set them apart from other contracts. For example, marital agreements must be in writing, and no consideration is required for them to be enforceable.
WHY BOTHER WITH A PRE-NUP?
Pre-nuptial agreements can save time and money if you separate. It can be really hard to convince someone who is about to get married that signing a marital agreement is a good idea. It is not romantic. Nobody thinks they’ll get divorced before they marry. Well, most people don’t. But if you can find a way to think of an agreement like any other legal documents associated with marriage, it can save both parties plenty of litigation money and hassle later. If your agreement is well written, there should be little need for argument over personal or marital property when you separate.
Pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements are binding contracts which courts are inclined to uphold. before signing one, all parties should consult with independent counsel to ensure their own interests and rights are protected. A primary purpose of these agreements is to replace the individual rights granted by Colorado law with an agreement between the parties. It is very easy to sign an agreement that contains terms which may be explained as “standard”, but in fact produce unintended consequences in the future. Relying on one attorney to advise both parties can be a serious mistake, especially if that attorney wrote the agreement. Before signing such an important and binding legal contract, consider consulting an attorney to review the document with your individual interests in mind. A review by an attorney prior to signing will probably be quick and inexpensive, especially if compared to the time and expense of trying to fight the agreement in the future.