The legal and financial relationship between spouses is like a business partnership in many ways. Just as businesses enter contracts to accomplish specific goals, couples can do the same. Marital contracts can resolve many financial and other issues.

The court enforces marital contracts when they meet specific legal requirements, so it is critical to work with a knowledgeable family attorney. Contact one of our Southbury marital agreements lawyers to discuss whether a marital contract can help you and your spouse.

Functions of Different Marital Agreements

There are several types of marital agreements: prenuptial, postnuptial, and separation agreements. The primary difference between them is timing—a couple signs a prenuptial agreement before marriage, a postnuptial agreement after marriage, and a separation agreement when the couple establishes separate households, usually in contemplation of divorce.

Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement establishes which property the fiancés plan to maintain as their own separate property, how they will divide their marital property if they later seek a dissolution of their marriage, and whether either spouse will claim maintenance, also called spousal support or alimony.

Postnuptial Agreement

A postnuptial agreement can replace a prenuptial agreement, anticipate a separation agreement, or cover other matters. Postnuptial agreements can address issues the couple did not anticipate in a prenup, such as ensuring support for a vulnerable loved one, shielding one spouse from debts or liabilities the other spouse incurred during the marriage, and setting ground rules for the spouses’ behavior.

Separation Agreement

A separation agreement covers the same issues as a prenuptial one, except it is executed when the married couple makes the decision to live apart. An attorney in Southbury can assist a couple in developing any form of marital agreement, all of which typically deal with issues of money or property.

Marital Agreements and Issues Regarding Children

Martial agreements in Connecticut can describe the spouses’ ideas about child support, child custody, and visitation, but the provisions are not enforceable. All decisions regarding children must serve the children’s best interests at the time the parents are before the court.

When the parties want to maintain the arrangements they established in their marital agreement, a Southbury lawyer can incorporate them into a parenting plan which they would present to the court for approval. The judge would review the plan to ensure the children’s best interests are prioritized, and if so, incorporates it into the order for legal separation or divorce.

Enforceability of Marital Agreements

Connecticut General Statutes § 46b-36g deals with the enforceability of prenuptial agreements. Although there are no similar laws describing the requirements for postnuptial agreements, the court has applied the same principles when deciding whether a postnuptial agreement is enforceable. An attorney in Southbury can give an opinion about whether a specific agreement is likely to be enforceable, given the surrounding circumstances.

All marital agreements must be in writing and signed by the parties. No agreement can be valid unless:

  • Both parties entered into the agreement willingly and free of duress or pressure
  • Both parties made full financial disclosures before they signed the agreement
  • Each party had sufficient opportunity to have an independent attorney review the agreement before they signed

A court might examine how much time the parties spent negotiating the agreement, the parties’ situations when the agreement was executed, and other factors to determine whether both parties freely consented to the agreement.

The court can invalidate prenuptial and postnuptial agreements when they are unconscionable. An agreement is unconscionable if it so heavily favors one party over another that the unfairness is shocking. Marital agreements need not provide equal benefits to each spouse, and most do not, but they must offer something of value to the spouse who gives up rights under the agreement.

Discuss Marital Agreements with a Southbury Attorney

A contract with a fiancé or spouse is an excellent way to establish financial goals and expectations or deal with unexpected situations. An enforceable agreement offers protection to both spouses.

Whether you are engaged, already married, or preparing to divorce, a marital contract can help you. Contact a Southbury marital agreements lawyer to learn more.

Connecticut Family Lawyer | CT Family Law | Dolan Family Attorneys N/a
220 Main Street Suite I Southbury CT 06488 (203) 806-9254