What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is an agreement made by spouses before marriage concerning issues they wish to encompass (i.e., asset and debt distribution, alimony, etc.) in the event of the termination of the marriage.
Prenuptial agreements are somewhat unique. Basically, you are indicating that you love the other person and plan on spending a wonderful lifetime with them, BUT if there is a termination of the marriage (sometimes by death), you are stating the terms for that termination to minimize fighting down the road. A prenuptial agreement can encompass whatever terms you wish unless against public policy. For example, a prenuptial agreement can cover alimony, distribution of prior assets, allocation of future debt, etc.
Why Do Couples Get a Prenuptial Agreement?
There are many reasons why a couple might decide to get a prenuptial agreement. Often, one party entering the marriage may be trying to protect assets they are bringing into the marriage (usually there is a disproportionate amount of dollars, one party to the other). Another common reason for a prenuptial agreement is that one or both parties has children from a prior union and they are trying to provide assets for those children. Sometimes, a person has been previously divorced and they have had a bad experience and are trying to minimize the potential of the same if the new marriage ends in divorce.
What Are the Requirements for a Prenuptial Agreement?
Oversimplifying, the parties need to have separate lawyers and there needs to be a full disclosure of assets, income and debt. The parties cannot be under stress or unusual pressure when executing the document. Also, a prenuptial agreement has to be fair when you are trying to enforce it. For example, maybe someone is waiving their right to alimony and 20 years later when the divorce occurs, unfortunately, they have physical limitations wherein they cannot work. This was not contemplated at the time the prenuptial agreement was entered. The Court has the discretion to not enforce the prenuptial agreement, at least regarding the alimony clause.
When Should You Get a Prenuptial Agreement?
Unfortunately, many people considering a prenuptial agreement wait until too late in the process. They make the mistake of waiting until the wedding is 30 days (or less) away. This puts an inappropriate amount of stress on both the two lawyers and, most importantly, the two parties getting married. It’s extremely stressful to try to juggle seating arrangements and wedding gowns at the same time you’re considering alimony and tax issues should the marriage end. You should try to secure a prenuptial agreement attorney at least six months prior to the wedding.
If you wait too late, you might consider a post-nuptial agreement. However, a post-nuptial agreement (executed after the date of the marriage) is something that is not completely defined in Connecticut as to its relevance and impact. If you were going to execute an agreement of this type, it is highly recommended that it be executed prior to the date of marriage and long before said date.
My name is Jim Katz and I have been practicing family law for over 30 years. I have worked with many couples over the years to write their prenuptial agreements. As your lawyer, I define for you the various areas that may be considered…and the impact of your decisions. There are laws, emotions, and wedding bells. When you hire me as your lawyer, you have an experienced advocate to present your legal position. Let me deal with these concerns. You concentrate on the wedding bells.
I invite you to call our law firm today at (860) 871-9449 for a free consultation to learn how I can help you.