Prenuptial Agreement Attorneys Connecticut
Planning a wedding is an exciting time, full of hope and promise for the future. Through all of the joy and happiness, though, it is important to remember that a marriage comes after the wedding, and it also needs planning. This process is not as fun as wedding planning, but it is important. Marriage brings many changes to people’s lives, from living arrangements to ownership and management of property. While no one wants to think about this while they’re eagerly anticipating their wedding, divorce is also possible at some point in the future. Prenuptial agreements, also known as premarital agreements or “prenups,” allow two people who intend to get married to plan ahead for various aspects of the marriage, including the possibility of divorce. They can also be very useful in estate planning. If you have questions about this process, the prenuptial agreement attorneys at Lawrence & Jurkiewicz are available to help.
What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?
Connecticut family law defines a prenup as “an agreement between prospective spouses made in contemplation of marriage.” By definition, a prenup agreement must be drafted and signed before the parties get married. A prenup typically takes effect the moment the parties are wed. It is possible to make a similar agreement after the wedding, but it would be known as a postnuptial agreement or “postnup.”
What Issues Can a Prenuptial Agreement Cover?
A prenup can address issues related to how the spouses will manage their property during the marriage, such as:
- Each spouse’s rights and obligations with regard to property owned before the marriage; and
- Their rights to manage or control property acquired either before or during the marriage, such as the right to sell or mortgage the marital home.
- How the spouses will organize their finances during the marriage.
Perhaps the most well-known function of a prenup is to determine the parties’ rights in the event of separation or divorce, including:
- Division of assets;
- Benefits from retirement plans; and
- Payment of spousal maintenance.
A prenup can also cover issues related to estate planning, such as:
- Provisions of the parties’ last wills and testaments, living trusts, or other estate planning documents;
- Rights to receive benefits from life insurance policies; and
- Survivors’ rights in financial accounts and other assets.
State law identifies several specific limitations on the provisions of a prenup:
- No provision may violate a criminal statute or public policy.
- A prenup may not limit a child’s right to receive child support.
- Any provisions affecting child custody, visitation, and other matters affecting a child are subject to review by a court.
- If a prenup limits or eliminates spousal support, a court can still order a former spouse to pay support if the other former spouse would otherwise have to receive public assistance.
Are Prenuptial Agreements Valid in Connecticut?
Connecticut law allows the enforcement of a prenup, as long as it meets the state’s standards:
- A prenup must be in writing.
- Both parties must sign it.
- Both parties entered into and signed the agreement voluntarily, meaning they were not coerced into signing.
- Before signing the prenup, both parties made a “fair and reasonable disclosure” of their assets, debts, and income.
- Both parties had the opportunity to have their own lawyer review the prenup ahead of time.
- The agreement is not unconscionable, either when the parties signed it or when one of them is trying to enforce it.
“Unconscionability” is a term used in contract law to describe a contract, or a term in a contract, that is substantially unfair to one party. Courts decide whether something is unconscionable on a case-by-case basis. They look at factors like each party’s bargaining power in relation to the other, and whether any sort of pressure was placed on a party to sign the contract.
What Is Lawrence & Jurkiewicz’s Role in Preparing a Prenuptial Agreement?
At Lawrence & Jurkiewicz, our prenuptial agreement attorneys can assist with prenuptial agreements in several ways. We can act as a neutral mediator to make sure that both parties fully understand the agreement, and that all of the terms are fair. We evaluate premarital agreements based on years of experience in family law and mediation.
Since both parties are entitled to their own legal representation during the drafting and signing of a prenup, we can also represent one soon-to-be spouse in this process. We can draft or review a prenup, advocate for our client’s rights and interests, and negotiate the terms with the other party’s counsel.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Prenuptial Agreement?
A well-drafted prenuptial agreement can offer many advantages and benefits. When two people with complicated assets get married, a prenup can clarify how they will handle their property during the marriage. Suppose one party owns their own business, which they started before they met their intended spouse. A prenup can help keep business assets separate from marital property, which can protect both spouses from possible liability.
A prenup can help with estate planning for people who have children from a prior marriage or relationship. They can use a prenup to clarify that they intend for certain property to go to their children.
The process of creating a prenuptial agreement can help a couple on its own. The disclosure of assets and debts gives each of them a better understanding of their financial situation and helps them make informed decisions.
No one wants to dwell on the possibility of divorce or death in the midst of wedding planning. But a well-drafted and properly executed prenup can resolve most or all issues that may arise during marriage and save you stress and money down the line. An experienced advocate can help both parties see the benefits of this kind of planning.
The prenuptial agreement attorneys at Lawrence & Jurkiewicz practice in Hartford and Litchfield County, guiding people through difficult and complex family law issues. To schedule a confidential consultation to see how we can help you, please contact us today online or at (860) 264-1551.