Why prenuptial agreements are now a must for most Connecticut couples

Most couples can benefit from drafting prenups to protect themselves from conflict, financial losses and disagreeable settlements in the event of divorce.

To many engaged couples in New Haven, signing a prenuptial agreement may seem unromantic and even unnecessary. However, these legal contracts, which stipulate how issues such as asset division will be handled during divorce, are no longer just advisable for famous or wealthy individuals. Today, most couples can benefit from drafting prenuptial agreements before tying the knot due to the following factors.

Complex personal situations

Many modern couples enter into marriages with pre-existing obligations that could complicate an eventual divorce. According to Business Insider, debt is one common issue, given the high rates of credit card and student loan debt in the U.S. Providing for children from a first marriage or other dependents is also a concern for many people.

If a divorcing couple lacks a prenuptial agreement and cannot agree to a settlement, a family law judge is tasked with deciding important financial issues such as property division. The arrangement that a judge reaches under Connecticut's equitable distribution laws might be disagreeable to both spouses, especially if complex issues such as debt are involved. By drafting prenups, couples can ensure that their settlements will fairly and adequately address any unique issues that they face.

Providing financial protection

Divorce proves financially devastating for many people. For example, according to The Chicago Tribune, 30 percent of women and 14 percent of men who divorce after age 62 live in poverty, compared to 4 percent of their married peers. Couples of any age may struggle financially after divorce, due to the associated expenses and the living cost increases that follow. A prenup can help mitigate these issues by doing the following:

  • Stipulating an appropriate division of assets and debts that provides adequately for the needs of each spouse
  • Determining whether alimony payments are necessary and financially feasible
  • Preventing lengthy disputes during litigation and associated legal costs

Although a prenuptial agreement may not completely eliminate the financial strains that come with divorce, it can help couples avoid unnecessary losses.

Acknowledging the risk of divorce

Finally, a prenuptial agreement can help a couple ensure the best possible outcome in the event of divorce, which is not such an unlikely possibility. Although the often-cited statistic that half of marriages end in divorce has been proven false, the risk of divorce is still relatively high for modern couples. According to The New York Times, one study suggests that over one-third of marriages will eventually end in divorce.

Couples who feel reluctant to consider prenuptial agreements should remember the benefits that these agreements can offer if a divorce is necessary. As Fox News notes, a prenuptial agreement can give each spouse assurance that divorce won't result in an unfair or financially crippling settlement. This can help reduce stress and conflict significantly during the divorce process.

Avoiding legal missteps

Prenups can offer many benefits, but it is essential for couples to ensure that these agreements are drafted properly. In Connecticut, premarital agreements can be challenged if one person signed under duress, based on false information or without adequate counsel. Given these criteria and other potential issues that may arise, couples should consult with a family law attorney before finalizing any agreements.