Prenuptial Agreements

Connecticut Prenuptial Lawyers – Kocian Law Group

You don’t expect to crash your car, yet you still wear a seatbelt. Like a seatbelt, a prenuptial agreement provides for your protection, only in the event of a divorce instead of a car accident. Each partner in a marriage should have his or her own lawyer to best look out for that partner’s interests. Kocian Law Group can lead you through the prenuptial process and ensure your future marital safety.

Premarital agreements are not “iron-clad.” You cannot predict what your family's economic and personal situation might be at the time the agreement is sought to be enforced. Nor can you predict what a court might ultimately rule based upon all of the surrounding facts and circumstances. Nevertheless, it is prudent to take necessary legal precautions to set forth your intentions in a prenuptial agreement.

Enforcement of prenuptial agreements in Connecticut is not absolute. An enforceable prenuptial agreement must meet specific prerequisites. If these requirements are not met, the agreement may not be enforced by the court.

Connecticut’s Premarital Agreement Act provides that a premarital agreement or an amendment will not be enforceable if:

  1. The party who wishes to abrogate the agreement did not execute the agreement voluntarily. An argument can be made that if the agreement was presented to one party for the first time within close proximity to the wedding, then that party was under duress and did not sign it voluntarily.2.    The agreement was “unconscionable” when executed or when enforcement is sought.  Black's Law Dictionary defines an unconscionable bargain to be “one which no man in his senses, not under delusion, would make, on the one hand, and one which no fair and honest man would accept on the other.”
  2. Before execution of the agreement, the party who does not want the agreement enforced was not provided a fair and reasonable disclosure of the amount, character, and value of the property, financial obligations, and income of the other party. This requirement is easily met by preparing and exchanging in advance of the execution of the agreement, sworn financial affidavits listing income, assets and liabilities. Each party must have a reasonable opportunity to ask questions about that affidavit, and receive any confirming documentation with respect to the affidavit that is requested.
  3. The party who does not want the agreement enforced was not afforded a reasonable opportunity to consult with independent counsel. While this provision does not require that both parties have independent counsel, it is important to ensure each party is aware of his or her rights.
  4. Finally, if as a result of the agreement one spouse becomes eligible for public assistance, the court may require the other party to provide support to the extent necessary to avoid such eligibility.

Provided that there is full financial disclosure, each party had independent representation, and neither party was under duress when the agreement was executed, the court's ability to reject the agreement will be limited. However, it is still a prudent decision to enter into a prenuptial agreement, when the circumstances warrant such a decision, as without a “pre-nup” the party who could be economically harmed by a divorce has virtually no protections that a properly drafted pre-nup, within the confines set forth by law, can provide.