Many brides and grooms in Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, New Canaan, and Westport often wonder whether or not they should enter into a Prenuptial Agreement, sometimes called a Premarital Agreement, prior to getting married. In Fairfield County, Connecticut, Prenuptial Agreements have become more common in light of factors such as the high rate of divorce and the trend toward people marrying later in life after having amassed wealth.
In general terms, a Prenuptial Agreement is a contract that two people sign prior to getting married that outlines how assets and income will be treated in the event of a divorce, and oftentimes, when one spouse predeceases the other. These agreements can cover other topics as well, such as how a couple will share expenses after they are married or how a marital home will be purchased and maintained during the marriage. A Prenuptial Agreement can be as comprehensive and detailed as a particular couple wants to make it. At Broder Orland Murray & DeMattie, LLC, we tailor each Prenuptial Agreement to suit a particular couple’s needs.
Under Connecticut law, specifically General Statutes Section 46b-36d(a), a Prenuptial Agreement can be used to address each party’s rights and obligations with respect to property held by the other, whether acquired before or during the marriage, and each party’s rights to buy, sell, transfer, mortgage, encumber, dispose of, or otherwise control and manage property during the marriage. Prenuptial Agreements address the disposition of property upon separation, divorce, and/or death and can be used either to establish the terms for or to eliminate spousal support in the event of a divorce. Some Prenuptial Agreements provide for the making of a will or the creation of a trust to carry out the terms of the agreement. Parties can use a Prenuptial Agreement to provide for the ownership of life insurance policies, how the proceeds from life insurance policies will be disposed of upon a party’s death, and the rights of each party to the other party’s retirement plan. Prenuptial Agreements will also state what law will apply in enforcing or interpreting the agreement.
While the topics that can be addressed in a Prenuptial Agreement are broad, Connecticut law does provide that the right of a child to support cannot be adversely affected by a Prenuptial Agreement and that any custody or visitation arrangements contracted to in a Prenuptial Agreement are subject to review and change by a Court at the time of a divorce. In other words, while a couple can set forth child support and child custody terms in a Prenuptial Agreement, there is no guarantee that those terms would be upheld by a Court in the event of a divorce.
Prenuptial Agreements can be appropriate in a variety of situations, including second marriages, marriages in which one or both parties wants to protect his or her premarital assets, marriages in which a party has an interest (or will acquire an interest during the marriage) in a closely held business, including a family business, and marriages in which one or both parties anticipates receiving a substantial inheritance during the marriage.
At Broder Orland Murray & DeMattie, LLC, we frequently consult with clients who have questions about whether a Prenuptial Agreement would be right for them and we have significant experience representing clients who want to best protect themselves in the drafting and negotiation of a Prenuptial Agreement. More on Prenuptial Agreements