Any couple considering marriage should also consider a prenuptial agreement. Although traditionally only wealthy people thought a prenuptial agreement necessary, couples from all economic strata and walks of life benefit from them.

Each party to a prenuptial agreement should have advice from their own qualified marital contracts attorney. A Fairfield prenuptial agreements lawyer can draft an agreement for a prospective spouse or review and revise one prepared by the other party’s attorney.

Prenuptial Agreement Basics

Prenuptial agreements (prenups) are legal, enforceable contracts between fiancés. Each party must sign them before the wedding, and they become effective when the couple marries. All legal contracts require an exchange called consideration. In a prenup, the consideration is the marriage.

A prenup is only enforceable if both parties enter into it willingly. If one party pressures the other to sign, the agreement might not be enforceable. Oral prenups are not enforceable in Connecticut. It is critical to consult a seasoned Fairfield attorney to begin the prenup negotiation process well before the scheduled wedding date to give both parties adequate time to consider the agreement.

Once the couple is married, the agreement is binding and cannot be revoked or changed unless both parties agree. A couple who wants to change a prenup may be able to do so through a postnuptial agreement.

Reasons to Consider a Prenuptial Agreement

Some people still believe a prenuptial agreement is a plan to divorce. That is not the case. It is more helpful and accurate to consider it a plan for managing joint finances while married and avoiding a fight about property if the marriage does not endure.

Prenups are critical if either spouse has an interest in a family business, children from a previous relationship, or is a guardian for a disabled person. Prenups allow them to segregate specific assets and direct them to benefit the children, ward, or business. They are also strongly advised whenever one fiancé has considerably more wealth or property than the other.

However, prenups are valuable even when the couple is relatively equal financially and has no other obligations to people outside the marriage. A prenup requires couples to disclose their assets and debts to the other. Many couples marry without this information, and it can have a substantial impact on the marriage. The disclosure gives both fiancés an accurate picture of the other’s financial life and encourages candid conversations about finances between the couple before they marry.

Enforcing a Prenuptial Agreement

Connecticut General Statutes § 46b-36g governs enforcement of prenuptial agreements. Anyone challenging a prenup must prove a legal deficiency in the contract. A skilled Fairfield lawyer can review a specific prenuptial agreement and the circumstances under which it was signed to determine whether it may be vulnerable to a challenge.

The law permits a court to invalidate a prenuptial agreement if a party proves that:

  • They did not sign the prenup voluntarily
  • The other party did not make a full or accurate financial disclosure
  • They did not have the opportunity to consult with independent counsel before signing
  • The agreement was unconscionable when it was signed or is unconscionable at the time of enforcement

Prenups often benefit one party more than the other, but an unconscionable prenup is so unfair that it shocks the conscience. A judge must decide whether an agreement is unconscionable or was when the parties signed it.

A judge can enforce part of a prenup and vacate other parts. Connecticut law specifically allows a judge to set aside a waiver of spousal support and direct that a spouse receive support if they would require public assistance without it.

Consult a Fairfield Attorney About Prenuptial Agreements

Every couple benefits from at least considering a prenuptial agreement. Candid conversations about finances and reasonable lifestyle expectations can provide a sense of security that helps a marriage endure.

Each of you will need your own attorney if you go forward with a prenup. Contact a Fairfield prenuptial agreements lawyer today to learn more.

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