Prenuptial agreements, also known as antenuptial or premarital agreements, are recognized in Connecticut, though they are not required to fit within a rigidly defined structure to be enforceable. In fact, it is likely by design that Connecticut has opted to allow the construction of such agreements to be governed by contract law so as not to limit their applicability. Such agreements are not just for the rich and famous, they can be powerful asset protection tools for anyone.
What should I include in my prenuptial agreement?
Connecticut law defines a prenuptial agreement as an agreement between prospective spouses in contemplation of marriage. In such an agreement, the parties may contract with respect to the rights and obligations of each party to property including the right to buy, sell, transfer, exchange, abandon, lease, consume, assign, create a security interest in, mortgage, encumber, dispose of, or otherwise manage and control property; the disposition of that property upon marital dissolution or other defined event; modification or elimination of alimony; the creation of a will or other asset protection tool enabling carrying out the provisions of the agreement; disposition of a life insurance policy and retirement plans; and any other matter that effects their personal rights and obligations.
A full financial disclosure is required by both parties so as to ensure the parties are aware of all of the facts before entering into such an agreement. In determine what provisions to incorporate, it is a good idea to consider all of these rights and obligations.
Can alimony and child support obligations be included in a premarital agreement?
It is possible to agree on the terms of alimony in the event of the breakdown of a marriage under Connecticut law. If a party asserts there has been a waiver of such a right, however, the party allegedly waiving such a right must have been aware that by signing the agreement they were relinquishing any claims to alimony, Chang v. Chang, 170 Conn. App. 822, 155. The waiver of such a right must have been clear and unequivocal; an inference of waiver alone is not sufficient.
Of course, prenuptial agreements do not allow you to contract away certain public policy interests, including child support.
How will I know if my Connecticut prenuptial agreement will be upheld?
When seeking to have a premarital agreement enforced, the enforcing party must be able to show that the agreement was either, 1) not entered into voluntarily, 2) was unconscionable when it was executed or when enforcement is sought, 3) before the agreement was executed, such party was not provided fair and reasonable disclosure of the amount, character and value of property, financial obligations and income of the other party; or 4) such a party was not afforded a reasonable opportunity to consult with independent counsel.
It is always best with prenuptial agreements to be extraordinarily transparent with respect to everything that may affect the rights and obligations of each party ensuring that the agreement will be upheld.
If you have any further questions about Prenuptial Agreements in Connecticut, contact our Managing Partner Joseph Maya directly via email at JMaya@Mayalaw.com or by telephone at (203) 221-3100 for a free consultation.