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Prenup and Postnup Basics: What Should Your Agreement Include?

Posted by on Sep 7, 2017 in News, Resource Center | 0 comments

First, let’s get the terminology straight.  Prenuptial Agreements (“Prenups”) refer to written agreements signed before a couple gets married.  Postnuptial Agreements (“Postnups”) are executed after a couple gets married and are only appropriate if there’s no divorce on the horizon.  In Colorado, both types of agreements are considered “Marital Agreements” and are governed by Colorado Revised Statutes §14-2-301 et seq.

So, what should you include in a Prenup or a Postnup?  The possibilities are numerous and depend mostly on what you and your fiancé(e) or spouse want to address.  Work with your partner to make a list of the issues that are important to you, and take that list to your lawyer to work brainstorm how to achieve your goals.  Keep in mind that Marital Agreements can deal with what happens if you divorce and/or one of you passes away before the other.  Some folks choose to deal only with the divorce scenario and leave death issues to their wills.  But, there can be implications to that choice that should be discussed with a lawyer.

To help you generate ideas, here are some examples of things clients sometimes want to address in their Marital Agreement:

Real Estate:  What do you want to happen with your home, rental properties, vacation homes, or other real estate?

Maintenance:  Will one of you receive maintenance (also known as “alimony”) from the other person?  If so, do you want to specify how much and for how long?  Or, do you want the then-existing law to apply?

Retirement:  How will retirement assets be handled?

Trusts:   Do either of you own any interest in a trust?  If so, what kind of trust is it? Different types of trusts involve different types of ownership rights and interests.  Your Prenup or Postnup should identify the trust interest and describe what will happen to it if there’s a divorce.

Income Earned During Marriage:  Will all income earned during marriage be considered “marital”?  Or, will some or all of it be considered either person’s “separate” property?

Debt:  If there’s any debt in either of your individual names, will that debt be divided between you?  How?  If there’s jointly titled debt, what will happen to that?

Premarital Assets:  How will any increase in the value of premarital assets be divided, if at all?  What about premarital asset income?

This list is not exhaustive, so feel free to raise whatever issues are important to you and your partner.  Your lawyer can help you evaluate whether and how to address each issue in a Prenup or Postnup.

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3 Reasons to Choose Collaborative Divorce

Posted by on Aug 8, 2017 in News, Resource Center | 0 comments

With so many options for transitioning your relationship from “married” to “not,” it’s hard to know which path is best for you and your family.  Here are three reasons why Collaborative Divorce may be a good choice for you

Non-Adversarial

Collaborative Divorce seeks to minimize conflict and maximize the chance of coming up with the best possible solutions.  You and your spouse will be part of a team that works together to brainstorm ideas and craft an agreement that works as well as possible for the entire family.  This doesn’t mean that the process is easy: divorce is generally a challenging and difficult process no matter what.  But, it does mean that you’ll be oriented towards and encouraged to pursue solutions instead of unproductive (and expensive!) battles.

Privacy

In the Collaborative Divorce process, issues are resolved during private, confidential meetings instead of being litigated in a public courtroom.  The final agreements you make will be filed with the Court and will be accessible to certain people within the Court system, but your negotiation and discussion will be completely private.

Empowerment

Collaborative Divorce seeks to empower you to make the best decisions for yourself and your family.  Instead of handing over these major life choices to a stranger (like a Judge), the Collaborative Divorce Team works together to gather all the necessary information, brainstorm ideas, and empower you to make clear-headed, thoughtful choices for yourself.

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Collaborative Divorce Team? What in the World Is That?

Posted by on Apr 5, 2016 in News, Resource Center, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Clients often ask me to explain what a Collaborative Divorce Team is.  People aren’t used to thinking of the divorce process as including a “team” of any kind, because many folks expect divorce to be a battle…where people work against each other instead of with each other.  Don’t get me wrong: Collaborative Divorces still involve two people (the spouses, or “clients” as we call them in Collaborative Divorce) who have opposing interests.

But, instead of leaving the clients to fight each other in an effort to get a bigger piece of the pie, the Collaborative Divorce Team works together to find creative ways to meet as many of *both clients’* needs as possible and – wherever we can – expand the pie itself.

The Collaborative Divorce Team consists of six people: the two clients, each client’s Collaborative Divorce attorney, a Collaborative Financial Professional (“FP”), and a Collaborative Divorce Facilitator (“CDF”).  While the attorneys are Collaboratively trained and are committed to the Collaborative process, they are still advocates and represent their respective client’s best interests.  The FP and CDF, though, are neutral.  They don’t advocate for either client, and they work instead to help both clients overcome obstacles, generate ideas, and reach agreements.

Please stay tuned for my next post, which will address more in-dept each Collaborative Professional’s individual role.

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Reduce Divorce-Related Conflict, Help Your Kids

Posted by on Aug 27, 2014 in Resource Center | 0 comments

Let’s face it: conflict exists everywhere.  We can’t escape it in our personal or professional lives, and each day’s news headlines blare the details of of tragedies stemming from our inability to see eye-to-eye.  Despite its almost universally bad rap, though, conflict isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Conflict helps us to more deeply understand ourselves and each other, identify and motivate to change circumstances that are causing stress and disease, and – in the best case scenario – conflict brings us closer together.  When parties to a dispute are honest about how they feel and work together to overcome it, they can find themselves in a better place both as individuals and as a team.

But, conflict is a double-edged sword, and the way that parents going through a divorce handle their disputes can have enormous and l0ng-lasting negative effects on their children.  Most parents love their children deeply and are heavily invested in their children’s well-being, but are so (understandably) troubled by the divorce process that they unwittingly do things that draw their kids into the parental conflict and/or cause their kids unnecessary grief (in addition to the grief that kids unavoidably experience when a family transitions into two households).

I encourage parents to think carefully about how each step they take, each word they speak, and each gesture they make affects their children.  There are also a lot of great classes available to help parents learn how to minimize the negative effects of parental conflict on their children as well as how to support their kids through the divorce process.  Being mindful of your children’s experience is the first step towards helping them survive, learn, and grow as they work through their own feelings about your divorce.

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