Congratulations! You’re getting married! Have you wondered in the middle of all this wedding planning, etcetera, if you should get a prenup? Well, I’m Marie Drake of The Drake Law Firm, and I’m here today to talk to you about why you might want a prenup.
Most people need them even when they think they don’t. Why do you need a prenup? Well, you need a prenup if you have any assets at all. It’s also a good idea to disclose all of your assets and all of your debts prior to getting married. A lot of people don’t do this, and sometimes there’s some shock value to finding out what’s really on the asset and debt spreadsheet of your loved one. What I recommend is that you sit down and there’s full disclosure prior to the wedding. This is a really good idea, especially if you have any assets at all.
A prenup is a contract, so it follows a typical contract structure. So don’t forget you want to have names, dates. You want to have all of the assets disclosed, all of the debts disclosed, and also a plan for your property. So you may agree that you’re buying a house together eventually, and you’re going to have a joint bank account to save up for a down payment. Great. That can be joint property. But if you have, say, an inheritance from Uncle Clarence, you may want to keep that in a separate account, but disclose it to your spouse so that she or he knows that Uncle Clarence left you $40 million. Sometimes that’s important to disclose before a wedding.
In addition, a prenup can help you talk through some of the financial decisions you’ll make as a married couple before the marriage. Because as we all know, money issues can be a huge source of conflict in a relationship married or not. So you might as well disclose this and talk about a path forward now before you get married. By the way, you don’t want the date of the prenup to be the date of your wedding, so I recommend giving yourself a few months before a wedding to get this done.
Prenups also address what happens in the event of a divorce. Now remember, it’s not a plan for a divorce. I hear all the time “Prenups are so unromantic.” Well, some parts of getting married are unromantic, but you still need to discuss them and that a big one is money. So I always encourage people to get a prenup. And in the event of a divorce, you put down what will happen. What will happen to one spouse’s separate property? What will happen to alimony, which is called maintenance in Colorado? Will there be any alimony? Who knows? But wouldn’t it be nice to lay it out in detail in the prenup so everybody’s clear? I’ve seen so many divorces over the course of my career where a prenup would have solved everything, everything except the children because we can’t really talk about the children in a prenup. The prenup is just about assets and debts, maintenance, and attorney’s fees.
Colorado follows the uniform act on premarital agreements and marital agreements. And with that, comes a list of rules, including full financial disclosure on each side and preferably representation on each side. I’ve seen prenups thrown out of court because the person with all the assets had an attorney and the person with only debt who made, you know, $3 a year didn’t have an attorney and had to sign something really fast. Well, those are usually null and void, which means they don’t hold up in court. In addition, if someone put a gun to your head and said, “Sign this,” usually those are thrown out too because they were signed under what’s called duress, and we don’t want that.
If you’re still watching this, you probably need a prenuptial agreement, and you need to call an experienced family law attorney to put one together for you. So please give us a call here at The Drake Law Firm, and we’ll answer your questions and help you put an agreement together that’s fair, and where both sides are represented, and where it’s enforceable. And again, congratulations on your upcoming wedding.