Most people have heard of prenuptial agreements, but many don’t even realize that there is such thing as a postnuptial agreement. Postnuptial agreements function similar to prenuptial agreements in that they provide a legal outline in case of the dissolution of a marriage and other unforeseen circumstances. However, a postnuptial agreement is entered into after the marriage has taken place, and not before the marriage begins, as is the case for prenuptial agreements. The Connecticut court system recognizes postnuptial agreements as binding contracts with legal force. Determining if you need a postnuptial agreement requires a careful consideration of quite a few factors.
The contents of postnuptial agreements vary. However, they typically contain key provisions that provide for what will happen upon the dissolution of marriage. A postnuptial agreement can address how property and assets will be dispersed amongst the spouses upon the occurrence of divorce, separation or the death of one of the spouses. A postnuptial agreement can replace an already enacted prenuptial agreement if both parties agree. Furthermore, postnuptial agreements can also be used by those who enter into civil unions.
Connecticut Laws and Procedures Regarding Postnuptial Agreements
In 2010, the Connecticut state court addressed postnuptial agreements for the first time and concluded that these agreements were in line with public policy, and fully enforceable, as long as the postnuptial agreement complied:
“with applicable contract principles, and [as long as] the terms of the agreement are both fair and equitable at the time of execution and not unconscionable at the time of dissolution [of the marriage].”
The phrases “fair and equitable” and “not unconscionable” create a key hurdle in the enforcement of a postnuptial agreement. These two phrases, taken together, require that at the time the postnuptial agreement was executed, both parties voluntarily entered into the agreement, and there was no fraud, undue influence, coercion, duress or other defect present that influenced the decision of either party to enter into the postnuptial agreement. Furthermore, there must have been a fair, reasonable, and full disclosure of the character, amount, and value of all property owned either jointly or separately.
Factors to Consider When Entering Into a Postnuptial Agreement
A postnuptial agreement is a great option in certain situations. First, if you are already married and do not have a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement could have its benefits. Even if there are no current marital problems, it is important to realize that no one knows what the future has in store. Furthermore, postnuptial agreements are helpful in situations besides divorce, including in the situation of the incapacitation or death of a spouse.
Second, a postnuptial agreement may be beneficial if you feel that your prenuptial agreement has become outdated. Though you can amend a prenuptial agreement, you also have the option of going back to the drawing board and creating a new marital agreement. In fact, the term postnuptial agreement is sometimes used to refer to prenuptial agreements that have been amended.
Third, a postnuptial agreement could be useful if, after the marriage was entered into, significant assets have been acquired either jointly or separately. In this situation you could use a postnuptial agreement to govern the new property or assets acquired.
If you need assistance in drafting a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, contact the experienced Fairfield County family law attorneys at our law firm today. Our attorneys can help you overcome any family law-related issues you may be facing.