How a Marital Agreement Can Benefit Your Marriage

September 9, 2021 | Bill Henry

There’s a common misconception that a marital agreement is for wealthy individuals or people in relationships destined to end. But that simply is not true. Marital agreements are for anyone, and they can actually strengthen your marriage in a number of ways.

In this article, you’ll discover what kinds of marital agreements are available in Colorado and how they can benefit you.

Find Out How a Marital Agreement Can Help You

A member of our Family Law Team is happy to sit down with you for a free case assessment to discuss how a marital agreement could strengthen your upcoming or current marriage. You can schedule that meeting online or call 303-688-0944.

Whether you are engaged or already married, couples generally do not like to discuss the two big Ds: death and divorce. While the conversation may be awkward at first, it can generate a positive dialogue that strengthens your marital bond, helps you protect your spouse in the future, and learn about the consequences of divorce.

While no couple can predict the future, a martial agreement can give couples peace of mind concerning the uncertainty surrounding their financial future.

What a Marital Agreement Can Do for a Couple

A marital agreement can offer security and manage expectations by specifying who gets rights to what property in the event of the dissolution of the marriage or the death of a spouse.

In short, marital agreements create monetary certainties in an uncertain future, by defining things like:
  • Property Rights – Who gets what property during the marriage or in the event of death or divorce.
  • Debt Liability – Who is responsible for the debt during the marriage, and how it will be transferred when someone passes away or there is a break-up.
  • Spousal Maintenance – How much, if any, alimony is received in the couple divorces or a spouse dies.
  • Attorney Fees – Who will pay the legal fees if a couple has to go to court in the event of a divorce, separation, or annulment.

What You Cannot Put in a Marital Agreement

Prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements have their limitations. For instance, a marital agreement cannot reduce or eliminate any future child support responsibilities of either spouse. You cannot punish a spouse for initiating a divorce. The agreement also cannot restrict lawful relief for victims of domestic violence.

When a Court Will Not Enforce a Marital Agreement

Waivers of spousal maintenance and attorney fee allocations can be set aside if the court deems the terms severely unfair. And, obviously, if the agreement violates the law it can be rendered unenforceable.

Do You Need a Marital Agreement?

Marital agreements are not just for those who are entertaining marriage. As mentioned earlier, an agreement can be drafted if you are already married.

A marital agreement only becomes effective once you’re married. If you’re already married, it takes effect once it’s signed.

You Cannot Get a Marital Agreement if You’re Getting a Divorce

It’s important to note that if you are married, you cannot create a postnuptial agreement if you are contemplating divorce. If that is the case for you and your spouse, a legal separation may be the only solution – or divorce.

Types of Marital Agreements in Colorado

Prenuptial Agreement

This type of marital agreement is for couples who are intending to marry and are looking to resolve any financial issues during and upon a potential dissolution of marriage or death of a spouse.

Postnuptial Agreement

This option is helpful for couples who, for whatever reason, did not think about getting a prenuptial agreement or did not have time to create one before the wedding.

A postnuptial agreement can also be suitable for couples who feel that a change to current circumstances warrants a marital agreement, such as:
  • a spouse receives a large inheritance
  • the creation of a business
  • a change in liabilities for either or both spouses

Separation Agreement

A separation agreement is documentation of the couple’s settlement upon legal separation or divorce. So, to be clear, separation agreements are not technically marital agreements under the law. The only other option to a separation agreement is the often cumbersome and costly process of trial before a judge or arbitrator.

Colorado Marital Agreement Attorneys

When prepared correctly, marital agreements provide peace of mind to a couple entering into or continuing their marriage. However, an incomplete or poorly written agreement leaves room for it to be contested in the future.

You may consider talking with a family law attorney to avoid these kinds of mistakes and to make sure the agreement reflects your and your spouses’ needs, wishes, and preferences. Our Family Law Team offers free initial assessments. Call 303-688-0944 to set up an appointment.

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