Before taking a huge step like marriage, couples should have candid conversations about money. Deciding financial priorities and each spouse’s responsibilities for handling money within the household can alleviate many marital problems before they arise.

It is also sensible to discuss how you will divide your property if the marriage does not last. Even the closest and most compatible couples can grow apart over time, and having frank conversations before the wedding can help make a divorce less expensive and stressful should it occur at some point in the future.

Talk to a Southbury prenuptial agreements lawyer when you get engaged. Our experienced family law attorneys can discuss whether a prenuptial contract is advisable in your specific case, explain your rights, and if appropriate, help you negotiate an agreement with your fiancé.

The Benefits of Having a Prenuptial Agreement

Many couples can benefit from having a prenuptial agreement (prenup) because marriage is a financial relationship. Regardless of the couple’s current circumstances, discussing financial matters and expectations before getting married clears the air and can help the couple build their life together with clear financial goals. If they later divorce, the property division aspect of marriage dissolution is already agreed upon, speeding up the divorce and making it simpler and less expensive.

When one spouse has children from a prior relationship, protecting them with a prenup is essential. If the couple divorces and there is no prenup, courts will divide the marital property in a way that seems fair under the circumstances. In such instances, the property a spouse intended to go to their children could go to the other spouse instead.

Prenups are essential if one spouse is much wealthier than the other, has an interest in a family business, expects a substantial inheritance, or owns a professional practice. A prenup can ensure that businesses continue to run after a divorce without the involvement of a potentially hostile former spouse. Although inheritances are often shielded from division in a divorce, designating them as separate property in a prenup can reassure family members and guard against a spouse asserting an interest in your inherited assets.

Prenups Must Meet Legal Requirements to Be Enforceable

When a couple divorces, the courts will honor a prenup as long as neither spouse challenges it, and it is not otherwise unconscionable. For a court to uphold a challenge, the spouse objecting to the prenup must prove that the agreement is invalid. A skilled Southbury prenuptial agreements attorney can help a spouse challenge or defend a prenup.

Both fiancés must consent to a prenup, and consent requires an understanding of the impact the agreement would have on each person’s property rights. According to Connecticut General Statutes § 46b-36g, a spouse has grounds to challenge a prenup if the:

  • Other spouse did not make a complete and accurate disclosure of their property and liabilities before the challenging spouse signed the agreement
  • Challenging spouse was under duress and undue pressure to sign the agreement, so their signature was not voluntary
  • Challenging spouse did not have sufficient opportunity to consult with an independent lawyer before signing

When deciding whether someone felt unreasonable pressure to sign a prenup, a judge could consider when they were presented with the agreement in relation to the wedding date.

Prenuptial agreements can waive alimony. However, if a spouse who waived alimony would require public assistance after a divorce, a court can set aside the provision of the agreement waiving alimony while honoring the rest of the agreement.

Unconscionable Agreements Are Not Enforced

The final reason the law invalidates a prenuptial agreement is that the contract was unconscionable when it was signed or unconscionable at the time of enforcement. Anyone considering a prenuptial agreement should understand the concept of unconscionability.

Prenups are often one-sided, meaning the value of the property one spouse protects is larger than the value the other spouse receives. Courts can uphold agreements that favor one spouse at the expense of the other, as long as the less-favored spouse understood what they were agreeing to and did so voluntarily. An unfair agreement is not necessarily unconscionable.

Unconscionable means shockingly one-sided and unreasonably unfair. Sometimes, a contract that was simply one-sided when the fiancés signed it is unconscionable by the time the marriage ends. If the agreement leaves one spouse financially comfortable and the other impoverished, there is a possibility a court might find it unconscionable. A qualified prenuptial agreements lawyer in Southbury can discuss whether unconscionability might be an issue in a specific case.

Contact a Southbury Attorney for Assistance With a Prenuptial Agreement

Couples can benefit from a prenup, even if neither spouse has children or significant wealth. Establishing financial expectations before a marriage serves the couple well during the marriage.

Talk to a Southbury prenuptial agreements lawyer at our firm if you plan to wed soon. Call today to schedule a consultation with one of our seasoned attorneys.

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