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How Effective Are Premarital Agreements In Divorce?

People going through a divorce often assume that challenges to premarital agreements are impossible. However, not all premarital agreements are enforceable. The Connecticut Premarital Agreement Act, passed in 1995, lists a variety of factors that could potentially make the premarital agreement unenforceable in a divorce.

Factors That Could Negate A Premarital Agreement

The act outlines 5 factors that could negate a premarital agreement, also referred to as a prenuptial agreement:

  • The agreement was not signed voluntarily. If one party was tricked, coerced or forced to sign under duress, the agreement could be rendered invalid. 
  • Fair and reasonable disclosure was not provided. If all pertinent financial information and other information, from bank statements to business records, was not provided to one party to ensure an informed decision when signing, the agreement may be rendered invalid.
  • One party was not given the opportunity to consult independent counsel. While neither party is required to have an attorney to sign a premarital agreement, if one party was not allowed the opportunity to speak with their own attorney, the agreement may be rendered invalid.
  • The agreement would make one party eligible for public assistance. If an agreement would leave one party needing food stamps or any other form of state assistance, it may not be enforceable.
  • The agreement was unconscionable. If an agreement causes one party to suffer a great injustice, it may be deemed unconscionable and unenforceable.

Ultimately, people pursuing a divorce should never assume that a premarital agreement is ironclad without first consulting a skilled lawyer who understands the potential weaknesses that could make the agreement unenforceable and shift the outcome of the divorce.

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