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690 Flatbush Avenue West Hartford, CT  06110-1308

860 236-9350             800 856-6400  toll free     860 523-9101  fax

27 Holmes Avenue Downtown Waterbury 203 756-6100

 

 

 

Connecticut PreNuptial Agreements

     People getting married sometimes agree to decide ahead of time how their property should be split and how other financial matters should be handled in case the marriage ends in divorce.  People enter into these prenuptial agreements (prenup for short) or premarital agreements for a number of reasons.

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They may have children from prior marriages and want to safeguard their assets for their children in case of a divorce.

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One of the persons may have significantly more assets than the other person and may want to protect those assets in case of a divorce.

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One or both of them may have gone through a divorce before, or known someone who did, and may wish to avoid the expense and fighting that may happen in a divorce.

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One or both of them may be stand to inherit significant assets from parents or other relatives and may want to protect the inheritance in a divorce.

    In Connecticut, prenuptial agreements are governed by the Connecticut Premarital Agreement Act, which is found in sections 46b-36a to 46b-36j of the Connecticut General Statutes.  This law applies to all prenuptial agreements made on or after October 1, 1995.

    Under the Premarital Agreement Act, the parties may make arrangements in regard to their present and future assets, income and debts.  These arrangements may include such matters as:

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The extent to which each party can use the property of the other.

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Each party's ability to buy, sell, use, transfer, spend, and make loans against property.

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What should happen to property upon separation, divorce or death.

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Whether and how much alimony should be paid.

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The terms of wills or trusts that each party may make

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The ownership and beneficiaries of life insurance policies.

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The parties' rights under pensions and other retirement plans.

    Terms of a prenuptial agreement that deal with the care, custody and visitation of children can always be reviewed and changed by a court.  A prenuptial agreement may not limit child support in such a way that negatively affects the child.

    A divorce court can invalidate any terms of a prenuptial agreement relating to alimony that would cause one of the parties to receive public assistance.

    Any prenuptial agreement can be challenged in a divorce.  However, the Premarital Agreement Act limits the ways in which the agreement can be challenged.  To have a Connecticut prenuptial agreement declared unenforceable, a person must prove one or more of the following to a divorce court:

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The person challenging the agreement did not enter into it voluntarily.

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The agreement was "unconscionable" when it was executed or is so at the time of the divorce.  The U.S. Supreme Court has defined an unconscionable contract as one "which no man in his senses, not under delusion, would make, on the one hand, and which no fair and honest man would accept, on the other." 

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The person challenging the agreement was not given a "fair and reasonable disclosure" of the other party's assets, debts and income.  The Connecticut Supreme Court has said the following in regard to what is fair and reasonable disclosure in a divorce case:
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The purpose of disclosure is to make sure that a person has sufficient knowledge of the other person's financial circumstances to understand the legal rights that he or she is giving up.

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What a person discloses is more important than when it is disclosed.

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The focus for deciding whether proper disclosure was made must be on the actions of the disclosing person rather than on the person to whom disclosure is made.  In other words, a person who fails to properly disclose information cannot blame the other person for failing to discover the information.

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Full financial disclosure is required in a prenuptial agreement only if the person to whom disclosure is made does not have independent knowledge of the other person's financial circumstances.

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If proper disclosure is made, it does not matter that the other person did not understand or review the information.

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A person who does not understand the disclosure or the agreement should wait until he or she understands it before signing the agreement.

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The person challenging the agreement was not given a reasonable opportunity to consult with his or her own lawyer before entering into the agreement.
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The person must have had sufficient time before the marriage to consult with an attorney other than the attorney representing the person's future spouse.

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The person need not actually consult with an attorney as long as he or she was given enough time to do so.

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Connecticut Prenup Lawyers West Harford Farmington Avon Waterbury Cheshire Middlebury Southbury

Recent Connecticut PreNuptial Court Cases

Prenuptial Agreement Attorney Connecticut West Hartford  Glastonbury Farmington Simsbury Avon Bloomfield

Peterson v. Sykes-Peterson  A “sunset” clause in the parties’ prenuptial agreement that the agreement automatically ended at a certain date was still enforceable, even though the divorce case was filed before that date, because the case was still pending in divorce court on that date.  A prenuptial agreement with a sunset clause is not against public policy on the theory that it encourages parties to file for divorce.

Oldani v. Oldani  A Connecticut prenuptial agreement ("prenup") was declared invalid because full disclosure of income was not made at the time the prenuptial agreement was signed.

 

 

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