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A prenuptial agreement can ease stress for Colorado farmers

Farmers and ranchers – especially those who own family farms or ranches – can be under extra stress when they decide to marry due to worries about the fates of their family lands. A prenuptial agreement for a farmer or rancher in Colorado can help to ease that stress. A prenuptial agreement is a legal document signed by a couple before a marriage takes place that outlines how certain assets would be divided should that couple later divorce. 

The division of a farm or ranch at the end of marriage is often difficult, as there are many assets that cannot be sold and the profits divided between the parties without jeopardizing the future viability of the business. For example, selling a farm's tractors and dividing the profits leaves the farm without the equipment needed to allow the farm to continue production. For reasons similar to this one, a prenuptial agreement can help to make sure that the business is allowed to continue operating even after a divorce.

These types of agreements are especially common in instances in which one party was married previously, in which one party owns most of the couple's assets prior to marriage or in which one party has prior commitments to heirs. In the case of a family farm, it is highly likely that one spouse inherited the farmland and, often, even the equipment used for farming. In addition, it is also likely that the spouse whose family owned the farm originally prefers that the farm remain in his or her family.

When a farm or ranch owner decides to enter into a prenuptial agreement, the focus of the agreement should be the continued success of the agricultural business. An attorney can guide a farmer or rancher in the drafting of an agreement that will protect family lands. With prenuptial agreements in place, Colorado farmers and ranchers can enter into marriages with the knowledge that their families' legacies will remain intact for future generations. 

Source:, "Prenuptial agreements may have mixed benefits for farm couples", Dr. Mike Rosmann, Feb. 28, 2015

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