Formalities of Premarital and Marital Agreements in Colorado

The Rocky Mountain Family Lawyers are Denver’s award-winning family law trial advocates.  We’re experts in premarital and marital agreement cases in Denver and other cities throughout Colorado.  

Call us today to talk personally with a lawyer about with your Denver prenuptial (premarital) and postnuptial (marital) agreement issues.  (303) 502-9600.

 

The Colorado Uniform Premarital and Marital Agreements Act (the “Act”), governs premarital agreements (prenuptial agreements) and marital agreements (postnuptial agreements) entered into on or after July 1, 2014.

Formal Requirements 

The following four elements represent the minimum requirements to create an enforceable Colorado premarital or marital agreement in Colorado:

  1. The marital agreement is in writing and signed by both parties.
  2. The parties entered into the marital agreement voluntarily and not as the result of duress.
  3. Both parties had access to independent legal representation at the time the marital agreement was signed OR the agreement contained a conspicuous notice of waiver of rights in the format required by the Act.
  4. Prior to signing the premarital or marital agreement, the parties exchanged “adequate financial disclosures.”

What Constitutes “Access to Independent Legal Representation?”

A party is access to independent legal representation if, prior to signing the premarital or marital agreement, he or she had reasonable time to do four things:  decide whether to hire a lawyer, find a lawyer, obtain the lawyer’s advice and consider that advice.   Also, the same party must have had the financial ability to retain a lawyer, unless the other party agreed to pay all reasonable fees and expenses.

The New “Notice of Waiver” Requirement

If either party to a premarital or marital agreement does not have “access” to his or her own lawyer, as defined above, the following notice of waiver of rights must be “conspicuously displayed” in the agreement to be enforceable:

IF YOU SIGN THIS AGREEMENT, YOU MAY BE: GIVING UP YOUR RIGHT TO BE SUPPORTED BY THE PERSON YOU ARE MARRYING OR TO WHOM YOU ARE MARRIED. GIVING UP YOUR RIGHT TO OWNERSHIP OR CONTROL OF MONEY AND PROPERTY. AGREEING TO PAY BILLS AND DEBTS OF THE PERSON YOU ARE MARRYING OR TO WHOM YOU ARE MARRIED. GIVING UP YOUR RIGHT TO MONEY AND PROPERTY IF YOUR MARRIAGE ENDS OR THE PERSON TO WHOM YOU ARE MARRIED DIES. GIVING UP YOUR RIGHT TO HAVE YOUR LEGAL FEES PAID.

What are “Adequate Financial Disclosures?” 

Financial disclosures do not need to be precisely accurate to be legally “adequate” for purposes of enforcing a premarital or marital agreement.    Instead, the disclosures must present a “reasonably accurate description and good-faith estimate” of the value of any property, liabilities and income of the other party.    Even if the disclosures do not meet this definition, the disclosures will pass muster if the party challenging the adequacy of the disclosures, in fact, has “adequate knowledge” or a reasonable basis for knowing the approximate value of the other party’s finances.   Of course, proving that fact many years after the premarital or marital agreement is signed may be impossible.   Better to disclose now.

Are all Terms Enforceable in Premarital or Marital Agreements?

Certain terms in premarital or marital agreements are not enforceable.  Such terms include those that adversely affect a child’s right to child support after a divorce, that restrict remedies for a victim of domestic violence, that purport to restrict any party’s ability to seek a divorce or legal separation, or that penalize the party.   Agreements that attempt to define each party’s parenting rights are also not binding on a Court.  Nor are agreements that violate any general public policy.

Any agreements that purport to waive maintenance or attorney’s fees will be reviewed by the court at the time of divorce to determine if they are unconscionable.   Agreements concerning which State’s laws apply will

Marriages Before 1986:

In the case of marriages entered into before the Colorado Marital Agreement Act, agreements are governed by common law.  Generally, a voluntarily marital agreement is enforceable where there has been full and fair disclose of the spouses’ assets and there has been no fraud or sharp dealings.

Contact An Experienced Denver Family Law Attorney to Draft Your Premarital or Marital Agreements.  The Rocky Mountain Family Lawyers are Colorado premarital and marital agreement experts.  Call us now to discuss your legal options and rights concerning premarital (prenuptial) and marital (postnuptial) agreements in Denver, Colorado and surrounding cities (303) 502-9600.

 

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