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Prenuptial – Premarital Agreements

Westport Family Lawyers Draft Effective Prenuptial Agreements

Helping you protect your property rights with a valid premarital contract

If you are preparing to be married, you are probably doing so with a mixture of elation, awe and trepidation. Marriage is a big step, and, even if you’re certain you’ve found the right person, none of us can know what the future holds. To take some of the anxiety out of your upcoming nuptials, you should consider creating a prenuptial agreement. As unromantic as this suggestion might seem, a prenup can give you peace of mind. By establishing your rights in the event of a “worst-case scenario,” you can alleviate much of your anxiety about the future. The family law attorneys at Needle | Cuda can help you negotiate, draft and execute a valid premarital agreement that enables you to go forward with confidence.

Issues you can address with a prenuptial agreement in Connecticut

The purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to secure each party’s rights in the event of dissolution of the marriage. The Connecticut premarital agreement statute allows couples to decide the following matters:

  • The rights and obligations of each party as to any property held by either or both whenever and wherever acquired or located
  • The right to transfer, manage and control any property
  • The disposition of property in the event of a legal separation, divorce, death, or any other event
  • The matter of spousal support in the event of a separation or divorce
  • The creation of a will, trust or other mechanism to carry out the provisions of the agreement
  • The ownership rights to a death benefit from a life insurance policy
  • The right to participate in a spouse’s retirement plan
  • The choice of law governing the agreement
  • Any other matter, including their personal rights and obligations

However, no provision of a premarital agreement can violate public policy or the law. The agreement cannot adversely affect a child’s right to support, and any provision for child custody is subject to judicial review.

Contesting a premarital agreement in Fairfield County

If you executed a premarital agreement and are now going through a divorce, you may wonder whether you are bound by the terms of the agreement. You can challenge the agreement in court, but you must prove the agreement was invalid at its formation, or that enforcement of its terms would be grossly unfair. The reasons a court would invalidate a prenup include:

  • Evidence the agreement was not made voluntarily — If the complaining party was coerced to sign the agreement, or signed it under duress, the court can void the agreement. The court looks at the totality of the circumstances, such as the timing of the signing and the complaining party’s emotional and financial investment in the upcoming nuptials, to determine if the complaining party accepted the agreement freely.
  • Enforcement of the agreement would be “unconscionable” — A court generally will not enforce terms that are so one-sided that injustice will result.
  • Lack of financial disclosure — Before execution of an agreement, each party must provide a fair and reasonable disclosure of their assets and debt to the other. If the complaining party was kept in the dark, he or she could not have made a fully informed decision to sign.
  • Lack of counsel — If the complaining party did not have a reasonable opportunity to consult with independent counsel prior to signing, the agreement might not be valid.

A court can also override a provision reducing or eliminating spousal support if the terms of the provision would force the complaining party to live on public assistance.

These reasons to invalidate a prenup should also stand as a warning to anyone who wants to create a valid agreement. At Needle | Cuda, we advise clients to begin negotiations well in advance of the wedding, to be fully transparent in their financial statements to each other, and to make sure each party has their own legal representation. Avoiding mistakes at the formation of your premarital contract can eliminate doubts about its enforcement.

Contact our Westport family lawyers for trustworthy guidance on prenuptial agreements.

If you are engaged to be married in Fairfield County, Needle | Cuda can help you create a valid prenuptial agreement. If you are going through a divorce, we can assess your current agreement to see whether it is enforceable. To reserve a consultation, call us today at 203-429-4151 or contact our Westport office online.

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