Premarital Agreements (Pre-nups), Cohabitation and Marital Property Planning
When a couple marries, legal rights change in a variety of ways during life and at death. For example, in Colorado, the duration of a marriage and whether a couple has children may determine a spouse’s right to assets or income produced from assets in the event of a spouse’s divorce or death. While divorce may be unexpected, the negative consequences of divorce (costly court battles, family disputes, damage to family and child relationships, etc.) can be prevented or minimized through advance planning. What a surviving spouse is entitled to after the death of the first spouse can also be confusing, absent proper planning.
Although marriage creates certain rights that do not exist prior to the marriage, it is possible to legally define each spouse’s rights to property and spousal maintenance in a way that the parties to the marriage deem fair prior to or even subsequent to the date of the marriage, but such planning must be done carefully and meticulously. The parties to a marriage can properly create pre- or post-marital agreements, also known as “pre-nups” or “post-nups.” The rules and procedures for establishing valid, enforceable marital agreements are complex and difficult to navigate. We offer the experience and knowledge necessary to help you create martial agreements that will withstand possible court review, because any such agreement that would not be enforced in a court of law is potentially worse than having no such agreement at all. We also offer advice and counsel as to whether such agreements are necessary and appropriate for any particular situation.
Some couples choose to not get married, which also has legal consequences. For example, couples may find that their conduct causes them to be deemed “married” under common law even without a marriage certificate, which can often cause family disputes and litigation over assets. This is another situation that can be prevented with careful planning, typically a Cohabitation Agreement can provide clarity and a legal way to prevent the mess of uncertain marital status.
We help individuals and families prevent the expense and emotional toll of not planning or planning badly for marital or cohabitation issues through:
- Counseling generally on marital, cohabitation, and common law marriage issues
- Premarital agreements (Pre-nups, also called prenups or prenuptial agreements)
- Postmarital agreements (Post-nups, also called postnups, or postnuptial agreements)
- Cohabitation agreements (to legally assert the absence of a common law marriage)