Marriage is a commitment – not just in the emotional sense, but in the legal sense as well. It is an agreement that comes with certain expectations, duties and responsibilities; some clearly defined, others more ambiguous. But like most agreements, a marriage can dissolve into destructive conflict and costly disputes. Knowing that, and in an effort to avoid such discord, many couples decide to enter into detailed written agreements about what will happen if their marriage comes to an end – prenuptial or postnuptial agreements.
Properly crafted prenuptial and postnuptial contracts can be effective tools to protect assets and minimize disputes during and after divorce. While such agreements may be beneficial to individuals of all degrees of wealth, those with complex asset portfolios or high-net-worth can be particularly well served by having an experienced attorney assist them with the development of a personally tailored pre- or postnuptial agreement.
Knowing what makes these agreements effective and enforceable also allows us to help spouses who wish to challenge the validity of legally dubious or unconscionable contracts. We have litigated cases in which courts have provided our clients with advantageous outcomes despite their having entered into onerous contracts with their spouses before or after marriage.
Prenuptial agreements are contracts entered into before a couple gets married. They can address a wide array of practical and financial issues that spouses often confront in the event of divorce. They can be powerful tools to protect assets that a spouse brings into a marriage, can define rights and expectations as to the ownership and distribution of property acquired after marriage, and set forth the parameters of any alimony obligations.
As with other contracts, premarital agreements must meet certain requirements for them to be valid and enforceable. Connecticut law also provides bases for challenging the validity of prenuptial agreements. We take a meticulous approach when preparing prenuptial contracts, learning our client’s specific goals and concerns and developing a complete picture of their finances, assets and other matters to be addressed. The agreements we craft are designed to maximize effectiveness and minimize opposition to enforcement.
Conversely, if a client has been victimized by a prenuptial agreement that is grossly unfair or violative of the law due to fraud, duress, unconscionability or lack of complete and accurate disclosures as to one party’s finances, we will forcefully attack the document’s legality and assert our client’s rights.
We take the same detailed approach when preparing postnuptial agreements. These contracts can address the same issues and are governed by many of the same principles of validity and enforceability as prenuptial agreements. The defining characteristic of a postnuptial agreement is that, as the name implies, it is entered into after the parties get married. A couple may choose to enter into a postnuptial agreement due to changed financial circumstances, new concerns or a desire to obviate and replace an existing prenuptial agreement. Whatever the motivation, we provide experienced guidance focused on protecting our clients.
In Greenwich and Fairfield County, Connecticut, the Law Offices of Wayne D. Effron, P.C. has set the standard for excellence in divorce and family law representation for almost 40 years. If you have questions or concerns regarding prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, please call us at 203-622-1160 to arrange for a consultation. We look forward to assisting you.