You Should Prenup

Getting married and deciding to merge your life and your finances with another person in a legal way is a huge decision. And once the decision to marry is made, there are numerous other decisions that follow, too, such as what type of wedding you’ll have, how you will divide household tasks and earnings, and what your parenting style will be (if you decide to have children, that is). One conversation that you and your future spouse should have when discussing your life plans is in regards to the value of a prenuptial agreement. At Divorce Matters, we believe that prenuptial agreements can be valuable tools that, in the event of a divorce, allow for clarity and mitigate conflict. Here are some reasons why you should consider a prenup–

You Want to Protect Separate Property

There is a strong chance that you, your future spouse, or both of you are entering the marriage with separate property that you each find valuable, and would hate to lose in the event of a divorce. This might include family heirlooms, a family business, or even personal cash reserves. What’s more, you and your spouse may want to keep income and assets separate over the course of the marriage. If any of these are true, then creating a prenuptial agreement can help to ensure that both of you have protection, and that in the event of a separation, you will have the right to keep your assets.

Protect Yourself from Debt

Just as you may want to protect your personal assets, and your spouse theirs, so may you want to protect yourself from incurring any of your spouse’s debts. Suppose your spouse has credit card debt when entering the marriage, is a sole proprietor and has business debt, or plans to accumulate debt in the future by attending graduate school or pursuing another personal endeavor – whatever it is, if you do not want to be liable for that debt in the event of a divorce, you need to include a provision in your prenuptial agreement regarding this.

Mitigate Conflict in the Event of Separation

Surely, no one marries with the intent of getting divorced. But even the best of marriages are trying, and sometimes, the stress of marriage is too much for a couple to handle. If you and your spouse do decide to divorce, you can at least take comfort in the fact that the divorce process will be relatively straightforward if you have a prenuptial agreement, as you will not have to worry about working together to reach a determination about how property should be divided.

Call Our Lakewood Divorce Attorneys Today to Learn More

As you plan for your future and your relationship, don’t rule out the formation of a prenuptial agreement. A prenup can have myriad benefits, and can actually be a positive for couples. To learn more or start the process of forming your prenuptial agreement today, call our team at Divorce Matters directly or send us a message requesting more information.

What is a Prenup and What Do I Include in It?

No one walks down the aisle imagining one day they will be racing to divorce court. Nevertheless, a high percentage of marriages end in divorce. Savvy couples certainly contemplate that one day their marriage might end, and they want to plan for what will happen if that day should, unfortunately, come to pass.

Prenups are Contracts

In a divorce, a court must untangle a couple’s finances, which includes dividing marital assets and debts, as well as deciding whether one spouse will pay the other alimony, called “spousal maintenance.” However, you don’t need to leave this up to the judge. Instead, before getting married, you can decide what will happen and include these agreements in your prenuptial agreement.

Prenuptial agreements also can identify what will happen in the event of death. For example, a surviving spouse is entitled to a share of the estate, regardless of what is stated in the will. This “elective share” will depend on the length of your marriage and can be 5-50% of your estate. If a spouse wants to give up their elective share, they can do so in a prenuptial agreement.

What to Avoid Including in a Prenuptial Agreement

You can’t decide everything in a prenup, no matter how well drafted it is. For example, you can’t decide child custody or child support. Colorado judges make decisions about children according to what is in the child’s best interest, and they will completely ignore any prenuptial provision that tries to decide these issues.

You also shouldn’t include any provisions that are unconscionable or against public policy. For example, you shouldn’t include a provision that penalizes a spouse for initiating a separation or divorce, which is likely void.

What to Include in Your Prenup

Most prenuptial agreements deal with the following:

  • How marital assets will be divided. Marital assets are assets you acquired while married, not assets you brought into your marriage.
  • How your marital debts will be divided. Like marital assets, these are debts you incurred while married.
  • Whether one spouse will pay alimony to the other.

To be legal, your prenuptial agreement must meet the following requirements:

  • The agreement must be in writing.
  • Both spouses must sign the agreement voluntarily.
  • Both spouses must make full disclosure of their assets and liabilities before signing the agreement.
  • Both spouses should retain their own attorneys to review the prenuptial agreement.

Additionally, make sure to sign the prenuptial agreement at an appropriate time””neither too close to the wedding nor too soon before you walk down the aisle.

Deciding Whether to Get a Prenuptial Agreement

Prenuptial agreements are not for everybody. For example, your future spouse might be opposed to signing one. Unless you want to call off the marriage, you might need to forego a prenuptial agreement and, in any event, should not pressure your spouse to sign one.

Also, consider that you can sign a “postnuptial” agreement after you get married. This postnup can include all of the information that you would include in a prenuptial agreement. The only difference is that you sign it after getting married.

Nevertheless, prenuptial agreements sometimes make sense. For example, you might be embarking on a second marriage and already have children. In the event of your death, you want all of your assets to go to your children from your first marriage. In this situation, your second spouse can waive their elective share if you die before they do.

Contact a Denver Divorce Lawyer Today

Prenuptial agreements have many wrinkles to them, and couples should carefully consider whether to sign one and what to include in it. To analyze whether a prenuptial agreement is right for you, speak with a Denver prenuptial agreement lawyer at Divorce Matters. To schedule your consultation, call 720-408-7469.

Can You Challenge A Prenup? Even In High-Asset Cases, You Can

The prenuptial agreement. The single greatest tool a person has to prevent losing their property in divorce. Through prenuptial agreements, couples can stipulate how certain property is divided after a future divorce. While you mostly hear about prenups in the context of celebrity marriages or high-powered couples, prenups are useful for all marrying couples who have property they wish to protect.

But what happens when the divorce pops up and one party disagrees with the prenup? Is it possible for that party to challenge the prenup? Aren’t prenups, especially in high-asset cases, ironclad?

Yes, you can challenge a prenup. No, prenups are not always ironclad. Here’s an example of a high-asset case that resulted in the destruction of a prenup to the benefit of a woman fighting her very wealthy husband for her fair share.

Elizabeth Patrakis vs. Peter Petrakis

Peter Petrakis, a Long Island millionaire, married his ex-wife Elizabeth in 1998. Three months prior, he gave Elizabeth a prenuptial agreement to sign stipulating that he would retain all marital assets upon divorce, but that Elizabeth would get $25,000 for every year they were married. Elizabeth waited until four days before the wedding before finally signing, after Peter promised that the agreement would be torn up when the two had kids. He did not honor his promise.

Elizabeth’s attorneys argued that Peter had defrauded her with this promise, which the courts found to be true. As such, the prenup was thrown out.
Prenuptial agreements are not often voided, but there are plenty of reasons one might be. If a prenup is not in writing, it can be challenged. If a prenup is signed under duress (four days before the wedding, for example), it can be challenged. If there are unconscionable provisions in the prenup, it can be voided. See our page on prenuptial agreements for more reasons a prenup can be torn up.

Our Denver family law firm can help you draft a prenuptial agreement for your marriage as well as challenge one if the need arises.

Why You Should Consider a Prenup

Prenuptial agreements are, quite possibly, the most misunderstood of family law issues. Some think of them as something only for the rich and famous with famously large assets to protect. Others believe a prenuptial agreement highlights trust issues and signals the demise of a relationship before it is even been legally cemented.

In reality, prenuptial agreements are often drafted between the non-famous and not famously rich. In fact, they are typically a sound idea for anyone with even small but independently obtained assets to consider. And with divorce rates approaching 50% in our country, prenuptial agreements may be something you and your spouse-to-be might seriously consider.

Potential inheritance, joint debt, retirement funds, all of these are taken into account when you develop a prenuptial agreement. It is not just a list of this is mine and that is yours but rather a cohesive plan of how you will handle a divorce, should it happen.

Here is a quick list of questions you might ask yourself to see whether or not you might need a prenuptial agreement:

  • Are you an owner or partial owner of a business?
  • Do you have separate assets?
  • Do you have separate debt?
  • Do you have kids, either together or from a previous relationship?
  • Are you in line to receive an inheritance?
  • Do you have assets you would want to protect, such as family heirlooms?
  • Do you anticipate needing to financially support elderly relatives in the future?
  • Does one or the other of you own a house or property?
  • Do you have separate retirement funds?
  • Are you a same-sex couple in a state that does not recognize gay marriage?
  • Are you concerned about your different money-spending or money-saving habits?

Drafting a prenuptial agreement does not mean you are planning for a divorce, as the stigma indicates. Instead, it is a method of protecting yourself just in case the unthinkable happens. With our clients, we liken it to wearing a helmet when you ride your bike. You are not planning to get into an accident, but sometimes life happens, and you want to be protected.

So what are you being protected from?

In Colorado, a divorcing couple’s assets and debts may be considered joint property. The courts will decide an equitable division of both. With a prenuptial agreement, you can decide ahead of time which pre-marriage assets and debts will be considered as individual rather than joint. It may prevent you from having to pay your spouse’s student loans for the next 20 years. Or it may protect your business assets from being divided between the two of you.


Prenuptial agreements are not for everyone. But if you or your partner believe one is in your best interests, based on individually held assets or other factors, speaking with a lawyer about the pros and cons of such a legal document is highly beneficial.

Prenuptial agreements are not an indication that you do not trust someone, and they are not an admission of defeat before the marriage has even begun. Instead, they are an open acknowledgment that life happens, and sometimes things do not go as planned.

Divorce, no matter the circumstances leading up to it, is an emotionally stressful time. A thoughtful, well-crafted prenuptial agreement has the power to protect both of you during what can be a potentially contentious situation.