Exploring the benefits of a prenuptial agreement

| Jun 30, 2014 | Firm News, Property Division |

Connecticut couples may be interested in an article detailing some of the benefits that having a prenuptial agreement can bring. The documents have the ability to address the terms of asset division or estate distribution if a divorce occurs or if one member of a couple passes away.

Generally, when one spouse dies, the surviving spouse cannot be disinherited from a will. The spouse is ensured their elective share of the couple’s marital property, though the amount of that share depends on the state. In Connecticut, the share guaranteed to the surviving spouse is one-third of the deceased partner’s estate. When the couple signs a valid prenuptial agreement, however, they can change this rule and waive the elective share.

Certain conditions can be met to help ensure that a prenuptial agreement is upheld in court. The agreement should be in writing, and both sides may need to have their own attorney advising them. In addition, there needs to be a certain amount of time between the signing of the agreement and the wedding, in order to remove the appearance that the document was signed under duress. Lastly, all assets must be disclosed, and the agreement cannot be too much in favor of one spouse. The prenuptial agreement can also dictate the financial terms of a divorce if one occurs. A postnuptial agreement, a document that is signed after the marriage but prior to the divorce, is also a useful tool and can have the same effect.

For couples that are planning on getting married, establishing these terms in writing prior to the wedding can be beneficial. An attorney may be able to help a client negotiate and draft the agreement, which can outline the terms of property division or spousal support. The attorney may also be able to counsel and represent a client throughout hearings and negotiations during a divorce.

Source: Equities , “What You Can Learn from Eliot Spitzer’s Costly $7.5 Million Divorce“, Dennis Miller, June 14, 2014