As with so many things in life, mistakes made during marriage are often made crystal clear to us during divorce. For many in Colorado, failure to draft a prenuptial agreement is at the top of the list of errors in judgment, especially when the property division process threatens to strip one of assets that took years and a great deal of work to acquire. Such is the case for a man who is currently at risk of jail time if he does not abide by a court order to sell his animal rescue facility.
The property in question is a farm that houses approximately 300 different animals. From pigs to emus, sheep to cows, residents of the property were rescued after being abused, abandoned or neglected. The facility is the result of the owner's lifelong dedication to saving animals, and is also his home. During his divorce proceeding, the farm became subject to the property division process, and was ordered to be sold so that both parties could divide the proceeds.
In this case, the couple did not have a prenuptial agreement in place. However, even if they neglected to draft a prenup before getting married, the property could still have been protected by way of a postnuptial agreement. Postnups serve the same function as a prenup, but are entered into after the marriage has taken place. These contracts are a good fit for families in which a business is started or expanded after marriage. Having one in place can help prevent having to close the venture in the event of a divorce, as well as the loss of jobs that can occur when a sale is forced.
In this case, the husband and owner of the farm is fighting to hold on to the property long enough to find homes for the many animals who reside on the farm. If he continues to refuse to sign a sales contract for the property, he could be held in contempt of court, which puts him at risk of jail time or other sanctions. Those in Colorado who can sympathize with his difficult property division position may want to evaluate their own marital protections to determine if a postnuptial agreement could help them to avoid a similar fate.
Source: FOX Carolina 21, Upstate animal rescue farm at risk because of divorce orders, Dana Wachter, Dec.10, 2013