Are you curious what a standard prenuptial contract in Colorado requires? Hi, I’m Marie Drake of The Drake Law Firm, and today we’re going to talk about the details required in a Colorado prenuptial contract.
First Colorado prenups follow a standard contract structure. So like most contracts, there’s important, what are called recitals at the beginning, names, birth dates, addresses, and also what are the party’s rights and responsibilities with regard to a couple of things. First, property meaning what’s purchased during the marriage, marital property, and separate property. How will that be treated during the marriage and in the event the marriage doesn’t survive?
In addition, maintenance meaning that’s what alimony is called in Colorado, and will there be maintenance, won’t there be maintenance? Do we want a structure of maintenance, meaning for every five years of marriage, it’s another, I don’t know, a couple thousand a month. I’ve seen those and I’ve also drafted those.
So there’s a number of factors going into a standard Colorado prenup you should know about. Colorado follows the Uniform Premarital Agreements Act. That is a national act that keeps premarital agreements and other marital agreements uniform across the country. So, it follows sort of a basic structure like I just spoke about. And also there has to be factors in there like lack of duress, meaning “Honey, I know you’re walking down the aisle, and I have a gun to your head, but please just go ahead and sign this saying I get everything. Thanks!” So, you can’t have that, for example. That’s called duress.
The other thing you can have is—judges hate it when people sign premarital agreements like 10 minutes before they get married. Give yourself enough time to really digest the disclosures involved in premarital agreements, it’s really important. Another thing to look for in a prenup is do both parties have legal representation? You don’t want one person, usually the person with all the assets or most of the assets, to have a lawyer and then the spouse who doesn’t have much doesn’t have a lawyer. Sometimes judges will throw out a prenup in a divorce just because of that. So, make sure both parties are represented, it always looks better and it’s always better for both. In addition, and maybe this is most important, other than don’t be walking down the aisle signing this with a gun to your head, is make sure you have full financial disclosure. So, let’s say you’re marrying someone, I don’t know, a celebrity software entrepreneur who maybe was planning to buy Twitter and then just backed out, if you’re marrying him, you want to make sure you have time to digest full financial disclosures from him. You also want to make sure he has your financial disclosures. It’s one of the rules and it has to be done.
In addition to the requirements that I just spoke about, a prenup cannot be unconscionable. What does unconscionable mean? That means you can’t include anything like, child support, anything having to do with children. Essentially, you cannot contract away the court’s jurisdiction over children. So, you’re never going to be able to say, “We’re going to limit child support no matter what to a thousand dollars a month” because it just doesn’t work that way. Colorado retains jurisdiction over children until they’re 19 years old or otherwise emancipated. So, keep the kids out of the prenup and focus instead on properties—separate and marital, on maintenance, which is what alimony is called, and make sure you have full disclosure from each other regarding your financials.
If you have questions about a Colorado prenup or you just want to get more information about whether or not you need one, give us a call here at The Drake Law Firm. We’re standing by and we’re happy to help and answer those questions. And also Congratulations on your engagement.