Pre-Nuptial Agreements

When you decide to get married you may be asked “Are you getting a prenup” or prenuptial agreement. You may have questions about what a prenup involves and whether you should enter into one.

What is the Purpose of a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is a contract that two people enter into in consideration of marriage. It defines their intentions upon divorce or death. Because marriage changes the financial landscape and obligates spouses to support each other as well as share in assets either they have acquired during the marriage or that you acquired before the marriage, you may have concerns about getting married. A prenuptial or premarital agreement is a way for people entering into marriage to clarify the financial outcomes. It may determine whether alimony will be waived or not if you get a divorce. It may determine if you keep your premarital asset.

What Can I Protect in a Prenuptial Agreement?

You can enter into an agreement that all premarital assets remain yours as well as any increase in their value if there is a divorce. You can agree that any gifts or inheritances you received remain yours. These may be sentimental family heirlooms or real estate. It may be cash. You can limit or waive your right to receive alimony or spousal support from the other parent while the other is relieved of their obligation to pay spousal support. You can limit or waive your right to receive certain assets or support if your spouse dies.

If We Have Children, How Will it Impact me if I Have a Premarital Agreement?

Public Policy encourages marriage and support of any children by both parents. While you can make certain agreements regarding spousal support in a premarital agreement, you cannot waive the right to receive or pay child support. This obligation is a primary obligation of parents. The public policy essentially means the parents cannot transfer their financial obligation to support their children to the State or to the other parent. If a child is conceived, you cannot escape your obligation by attempting to contract that no children will be born of this marriage.

Who Should Consider Entering Into a Premarital or Prenuptial Agreement?

You may be young or you may be older. You may have been married previously and have assets that you believe should remain yours. You may have children whose interests you are concerned with protecting. You may have substantial assets or trust income because of your family situation or as a result of a favorable court settlement. You may be nearing retirement or retired and concerned about your ability to be financially stable during your retirement years, especially considering this spouse did not contribute to the accumulation of the assets, including pensions or other retirement assets.

Do I Need to Comply With Contact Principles?

The agreement is a contract. The marriage is the consideration required to make the contract binding. Once entered into the agreement can only be modified or revoked by written agreement of both spouses. You must disclose all assets and income. You must have the capacity to enter into a contract. There must not be fraud inducing you to enter into the agreement. It is recommended you review it thoroughly with an attorney before signing any prenuptial agreement.

The judge will make the final determination whether the agreement will be upheld if you get divorced or someone dies and the other spouse attempts to avoid the consequences that result therefrom. If the judge determines the situation has changed significantly since the date of the marriage or one of the contract principles apply, such as fraudulently inducing a spouse to enter into the agreement, he or she may void the agreement. It is recommended you discuss the pros and cons with an attorney before entering into a prenuptial or premarital agreement.

For further information:
Connecticut Law About Premarital Agreements

This is not an exhaustive discussion of the law in this area and should not be relied upon by you in making a decision as to whether to enter into a prenuptial agreement. A Connecticut attorney at Gryk & Frolich LLC may be able to assist you in deciding if this is appropriate in your situation, in preparing a prenuptial agreement or in reviewing one that you have been requested you enter into.

This should not be taken as legal advice and the reader is advised to contact an attorney to determine their rights. Law varies from state to state.

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