The notion of a prenuptial agreement is not a positive one for many people. We are a nation that believes fervently in happy endings and romance, and treating a marriage like a business proposal that could possibly come to an end certainly does not fit those criteria.

But divorce is a very real possibility in this country, and some estimates show that 40%-50% of all marriages will end in a divorce, with that number climbing even higher for those who remarry. It not only makes sense for people to discuss the possibility of a prenup with their potential spouse, for many it should be an integral part of any marriage contract no matter how in love you may be at the time.

Here’s how a prenup works: since 2014 Colorado has ascribed to the Uniform Prenuptial Agreement Act (UPAA). This puts forth certain criteria for a prenup to be valid and enforceable. Firstly, the agreement must be a written contract and cannot be oral. Both partners in the prospective marriage are required to disclose any and all individual assets they may have, and the decision to sign a prenup must be mutual—there cannot be any coercion by one partner to force the other to agree.

Prenups are agreed upon before the marriage and can serve a number of financial purposes such as delegating how the distribution (or non-distribution as the case may be) of certain assets or property will be handled in the event of a divorce or legal separation. A prenuptial agreement will only take effect if the relationship comes to an end.

Sure, a prenup is not for everyone. They are generally geared towards those who already have or might acquire significant personal assets. However, there are a number of other occasions where signing a prenuptial agreement is not only smart but essential. These could include:

  • Ensuring your assets go to your children from a previous marriage
  • Making sure your interests in a business is not divided in a divorce
  • Planning ahead for how assets would be split or alimony would be paid in the event of a divorce

With regard to alimony, keep in mind that, in Colorado, a court will only enforce an alimony provision of a prenuptial agreement if it is still fair to both spouses at the time of the divorce.

Prenuptial agreements may be surrounded by a negative stigma, but there are many positives to working with your spouse to put together a prenup before you get married, such as forcing you to have open and honest conversations about your finances. Every marriage should start on a foundation of honesty, and for many, a prenup provides peace of mind and preparation that only strengthens the couple’s commitment to one another. Creating a prenup should not be a last minute decision, so be sure to consult with an experienced Family Law attorney like Duncan Legal PC well ahead of your marriage to discuss your goals and options.