When it comes to marriage and divorce, virtually everyone understands why an attorney is helpful for navigating through the latter, but comparatively fewer people understand why an attorney can be useful before going through the former. As it turns out, consulting with an experienced family law attorney prior to marriage can yield substantial benefits for Coloradoans. In this post, we’re going to spell out a few of the key advantages which can be gained from this counsel.
Learn the Advantages of Prenuptial Agreements
As we’ve pointed out before, prenuptial agreements are one of the most poorly understood concepts in the whole field of family law. If you ask a typical layperson, he or she will likely tell you that these agreements are “tools of the rich,” cleverly worded documents designed to guard the wealth of the 1%. The truth, however, is that prenups are simply contracts which allow spouses to remove some of the uncertainty which characterizes the property division and spousal maintenance aspects of divorce. If a couple divorces without a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement, that couple will have to use Colorado’s default rules in these areas, unless they can independently settle things apart from the court. If spouses want to predetermine certain outcomes with respect to property division and spousal maintenance, they can use a prenuptial agreement, and this can save large amounts of both time and money. Consulting with an attorney before marriage is one way to learn all about the benefits of these contracts.
Learn the Advantages of Postnuptial Agreements
The same logic used in the previous section applies here, but the details are just slightly different. Unlike prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements are signed after the marriage takes place, but they have the exact same function as prenuptial agreements. An attorney can alert to this fact, and reassure you that failing to sign a prenuptial agreement won’t necessarily mean that you’re stuck with Colorado’s default rules. Furthermore, an attorney can very carefully explain the process for creating an enforceable prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, as Colorado has specific rules regarding enforceability.
Learn About the Realities of the Divorce Procedure in CO
Another benefit which can be gained through consulting with an attorney prior to marriage is learning the realities of the divorce process here in Colorado. Often, people become excited about marriage, but fail to fully appreciate the challenges associated with the divorce process. Of course, no one marries with the intention of divorcing, but the statistical reality is that divorce is a very real possibility. For this reason, people need to have an accurate sense of the emotional and personal demands of divorce.
Learn About the Financial Ramifications of Divorce
Finally, in addition to learning about the challenges of the divorce process, future spouses also need to understand the financial implications of divorce. Few laypeople, for instance, realize the financial ramifications of property division, alimony, or child support. They assume, mistakenly, that divorce won’t have much financial impact beyond a small filing fee and perhaps a nominal attorney’s fee. The truth, however, is that divorce can have very serious and deep financial consequences, particularly for those divorces which involve shared children. If you don’t know the full financial implications of divorce, one could make a very compelling argument that you aren’t truly prepared for marriage.