As the fight for gay and lesbian rights continues across the country, same-sex couples in Colorado now enjoy many of the same legal protections as their heterosexual counterparts. While married same-sex couples can now exercise the ability to make medical decisions in an emergency and to file for death benefits through the workers’ compensation system, couples may need to consider additional protections before marrying. Although property division and even alimony are usually addressed during divorce or dissolution of marriage proceedings, taking extra steps to protect important assets can still be hugely beneficial.
Civil unions in Colorado grant same-sex couples all of the same rights and benefits as married, straight couples. In the past, same-sex couples who decided to bring a long-term relationship to an end did not have the benefit of property or asset division, and determining how to handle a home or car that was purchased together could be exceptionally difficult. While a dissolution of marriage can now help couples address those issues, many still find that prenuptial agreements can address certain contentious issues before arguments have the chance to arise.
However, failing to obtain a prenup before saying “I do” is not necessarily an issue. In most instances, a post-marital agreement can be just as effective for same-sex civil unions and any dissolution thereof. However, since civil unions can vary from state to state, those who want to sign a post-marital agreement after marrying in a different state should make sure they understand what is and is not enforceable should they later decide to divorce.
While same-sex couples can now enjoy the benefits of married life, they must also deal with the potential of that union coming to an end. The dissolution of a same-sex union can be fairly straightforward, but individuals still have the right to protect themselves and their assets from the impact of a divorce. For individuals who have children, own a business or even just a single asset to their name, a carefully worded and mutually agreeable premarital agreement can be a successful start to a marriage.
Source: FindLaw, “Same Sex Marriage, Civil Unions, and Domestic Partnerships“, Accessed on May 18, 2015