Prenuptial + Postnuptial Agreements

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New Canaan Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer

A prenuptial agreement (or premarital agreement) is a written contract entered into by a couple before marriage that enables the parties to select and control many of the financial rights and responsibilities that each party will acquire upon marrying (such as property division or alimony rights), and determine what happens if their marriage ends either by death or divorce.  Like a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement is a written contract entered into by a couple that sets forth various financial rights and obligations of the parties if their marriage ends either by death or divorce.  However, a postnuptial agreement is signed after the parties are married. 

Reasons for Signing a Prenuptial Agreement

The concept of a prenuptial agreement can have some negative connotations. Some mistakenly believe that by entering into a prenuptial agreement with your future spouse you are establishing the inevitability of a divorce. Some believe that the person requesting the prenuptial agreement does not trust his or her future spouse.

In reality, prenuptial agreements are used for any number of reasons and not necessarily because you don't trust your partner or think that things aren't going to work out.  For many couples, prenuptial agreements are a means of protecting inheritances, business assets, family assets, or children's estate rights from a prior marriage.  For other couples, the desire for a prenuptial agreement is motivated by a desire to avoid the possibility of an acrimonious divorce in the future by resolving specific financial issues that necessarily arise when parties divorce at the outset of a marriage.  Doing so can provide individuals with peace of mind because the prenuptial agreement outlines how specific issues will be addressed in the event of a divorce, legal separation, or annulment at a time when the parties are loving toward one another. Notably, prenuptial agreements can offer individuals several options that do not necessarily follow the law and are customized to the couple.

Prenuptial Agreements are not Only for the Wealthy (a Common Misconception)

One common misconception about premarital agreements is that they are only for the wealthy.  While premarital agreements are often used to protect individual and family wealth, such agreements can also be beneficial for parties with modest means for various reasons.  For example, our New Canaan prenuptial agreement lawyers routinely draft prenuptial agreements on behalf of clients where it is anticipated that one party may put his or her career on hold to stay home and care for children.  A prenuptial agreement can be a useful means of ensuring that the stay-at-home parent will have the security of knowing that foregoing a career outside of the home will be considered in determining potential financial rights and obligations if the marriage fails.  This is usually accomplished by determining in advance a certain level and term of alimony to be paid by the working know going into marriage what their respective alimony rights and obligations will look like, rather than leaving the issue open to a potentially expensive and acrimonious dispute down the road.  For many people, the certainty that a prenuptial agreement can provide is paramount. 

Common Issues Addressed in Prenuptial Agreements

The Connecticut Premarital Agreements Act, the statute which governs the validity and enforceability of prenuptial agreements in Connecticut, permits couples preparing for marriage to include any or all of the following provisions in a prenuptial contract:

  • Legal concerns related to personal, property, and financial rights;
  • Business ownership, management, and control rights;
  • Estate planning, including wills, trusts, and anticipated family inheritances;
  • Retirement, life insurance, and healthcare benefits;
  • Matters involving the care of older relatives;
  • Spousal support or alimony in the event of separation or divorce;
  • Agreed distribution of assets and liabilities in the event of death, separation, or marital dissolution.
Validity and Enforcement of Prenuptial Agreements in Connecticut

The Connecticut Prenuptial Agreement Act also helps a court determine whether or not a Connecticut prenuptial agreement is enforceable. The validity of a prenuptial agreement can be challenged when any of the following situations occur:

  • The agreement was not entered into voluntarily;
  • The individual challenging the agreement was not given an accurate disclosure of the other party's assets, income or debts;
  • If the spouse challenging the agreement was not given the opportunity to consult with an attorney prior to signing the agreement. It is mandatory that both spouses are given sufficient time before their wedding to consult an attorney for legal advice;
  • The agreement was considered unconscionable when it was executed or is at the time of the divorce. Unconscionable can be defined as the circumstances under which the agreement was made are deemed unfair. One side may have unequal bargaining power, one side may have difficulty understanding the terms of the agreement, or the terms themselves were unfair. Additionally, one side made have a lack of capacity or be under certain duress at the time of signing;
Connect with One of Our Experienced New Canaan Prenuptial Agreement Lawyers Today

Our New Canaan based prenuptial agreement lawyers have collectively negotiated and drafted hundreds of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, including agreements involving parties with very modest assets and incomes to those with hundreds of millions (and even billions) of dollars in assets. If you and your significant other are thinking of entering into a pre-nuptial agreement and you would like to learn more, feel free to contact us at (203) 652-8018 or complete our online contact form.

The Family Law Firm of Healy + Eliot

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The Family Law Firm of Healy + Eliot is a boutique firm devoted exclusively to the practice of family law, including divorce, alimony, child support, property distribution, child custody and access, pre- and post-nuptial agreements, modifications and enforcement proceedings.

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