A prenuptial agreement (also known as a “premarital” or “antenuptial” agreement) is a legally binding contract between two individuals that are planning to get married. Through prenuptial agreements, couples can enter into various agreements about how their separate and joint property, assets, and income will be handled during the marriage and in the event of a divorce or the death of a spouse.
Is a Prenuptial Agreement Right for You?
A prenuptial agreement does not mean that a couple is not fully committed to making their marriage work. The agreement is simply a tool that can save a tremendous amount of conflict and expense in the future should circumstances arise. A prenuptial agreement may actually make a marriage stronger by removing potential sources of mistrust and conflict.
Couples seek a prenuptial agreement for a variety of reasons, including:
They have children from prior relationships and want to safeguard their assets for their children in case of a divorce.
- One person may have significantly more assets than the other person and may want to protect those assets in case of a divorce.
- One or both of them may have gone through a previous divorce and may wish to avoid the emotional and financial expense of litigating another divorce.
- One or both of them may stand to inherit significant assets from parents or relatives and may want to protect the inheritance in case of a divorce.
A prenuptial agreement can be used to protect both parties from future conflicts by addressing in advance what will happen to property upon divorce or the death of one spouse. Child custody and support matters cannot be predetermined this way, but many important issues can be addressed, including:
- Which spouse will receive specific separate and marital assets.
- Whether alimony can be claimed by either spouse.
- How finances will be managed during the marriage.
Preparing an Effective Prenuptial Agreement in Connecticut
In Connecticut, all prenuptial agreements executed on or after October 1, 1995 are governed by the Connecticut Premarital Agreement Act. Under this Act, Connecticut recognizes the validity of prenuptial agreements provided that certain conditions are met. The most important of these relate to the timing of the agreement and full disclosure of assets and debts.
With respect to timing, the sooner the prenuptial agreement is prepared, the better. Several months are generally required to prepare an effective prenuptial agreement. Each party needs adequate time to review and understand the terms of the agreement. If adequate time is not provided, a court may refuse to enforce the agreement for reasons of coercion or duress.
With respect to disclosure, both parties must make their financial information, assets, and debts known to the other. Failure to provide complete financial disclosure can render a prenuptial agreement unenforceable.
We Can Help
If you are planning to get married and have considered entering into a prenuptial agreement, contact McConnell Family Law Group for a consultation. Our attorneys can prepare, review or negotiate a prenuptial agreement for you. Our offices are located in Fairfield, New Haven, and Hartford counties. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Here are some more facts and information regarding prenuptial agreements.