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Getting married? Why you should consider a prenuptial agreement

Here are some eye-opening statistics about the current state of marriage in the U.S.

  • Today, the average age at which U.S. women and men marry has increased to ages 27 and 29 respectively
  • The divorce rate in the U.S. continues to hover around the 50 percent mark
  • 40 percent of U.S. marriages involve at least one partner who was previously married

These statistics should be enough to convince anyone who is planning to marry to take steps to protect their financial interests by establishing a prenuptial agreement.

3 key benefits of a prenuptial agreement

1) Protect assets - Because more men and women are delaying marriage and therefore entering into marriages with more property and assets, they also have more to lose if they subsequently divorce. Colorado is an equitable distribution state. This means that when a couple divorces, a judge will work to divide marital assets and property in an equitable or fair manner. The best way to ensure that certain assets and property are retained in a divorce is to account for them in a prenuptial agreement.

2) Protect against debts - National statistics show that 56 percent of college seniors in Colorado graduate with student loan debt with the average amount totaling more than $25,000. When these individuals marry, their debt obligations are also assumed by a spouse who is responsible for their repayment even if a marriage ends in divorce. However, student loan and other debt repayment obligations can be accounted for in a prenuptial agreement.

3) Protect the inheritance rights of children - In cases where a parent who has a child from a previous relationship or marriage remarries, he or she can use a prenuptial agreement to ensure that a child will inherit assets that would otherwise pass to a surviving spouse.

While no one enters into a marriage with the belief that a union will end in divorce, the reality is that roughly one out of every two marriages do. When you consider these types of odds, it just makes sense to take steps to protect your financial interests and those of your children from a previous marriage.

How an attorney can help protect your financial interests

While many financial matters can be addressed in a prenuptial agreement, there are some that cannot. For example language that encourages divorce, waives one spouse's right to alimony or dictates the terms of child custody should never be included in a prenuptial agreement. Not only will these types of provisions be considered null and void by a judge, but they could also result in an entire prenuptial agreement being voided.

For anyone who plans to marry, it's wise to consult with a family law attorney who can answer questions, provide legal advice and ensure that a prenuptial agreement meets your individual needs and, if necessary, will hold up in court.

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