Connecticut, like every other state, allows couples to create a prenuptial agreement before they get married. These agreements set out what will happen if the couple decides to divorce. It may describe who will get what, or which property is marital property and which property is not. It can even address some rights and obligations during the marriage as well.
Prenuptial agreements can be beneficial for some couples, but they do have their limitations. Some items cannot be addressed in prenuptial agreements. You will have to find other means to work out matters that prenuptial agreements do not or cannot cover.
1. Child Support
Issues regarding child support are prohibited explicitly by Connecticut law. The law states: “The right of a child to support may not be adversely affected by a premarital agreement.”
There are specific legal provisions that set out how much child support must be provided based upon each parent’s individual income level, the particular needs of a child, and the number of children involved. If couples were allowed to agree to amounts for child support beforehand, it would completely undermine the aforementioned Connecticut law.
While many states also prohibit provisions regarding child custody or visitation, Connecticut does allow those types of clauses. However, they will be subject to judicial review and modification to ensure they are in the best interests of the child.
2. Spousal Support
Prenuptial agreements cannot limit or eliminate spousal support if such limitation would cause one spouse to be eligible for state assistance. This means that you can include a provision that prohibits or limits spousal support, but the entire provision may later be deemed void if one spouse proves that he or she requires state assistance as a result of insufficient spousal support.
3. Provisions Regarding Duties
As a rule, prenuptial agreements should not contain provisions that set out standards regarding which spouse is responsible for supporting the family. Connecticut law states explicitly that each spouse is jointly obligated to support his or her family. That means that debts are generally shared, including:
Reasonable and necessary services of a physician or dentist.
Hospital expenses of either spouse or a minor child.
Rental costs for the dwelling unit occupied by both spouses.
Any other item that was purchased by one or both spouses that went to the support of the family or for the joint benefit of both spouses.
While you can include personal rights and obligations within the relationship in your prenuptial agreement, when it comes to jointly acquired debts, there are some restrictions.
4. Anything Illegal or Violating Public Policy
Your prenuptial agreement should not contain anything illegal or that would violate public policy. This “catch-all” provision prohibits some of the more unique or personal items that couples may want to incorporate into their agreements.
If you are considering creating a prenuptial agreement, you should know what the document you are signing can and cannot do. Attorney Paul McConnell can walk you through this process. Contact our office for more information.