Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements In NY and Fairfield County
Recognize the inherent value of protecting your property and estate with prenuptial and postnuptial agreements in NY and CT. Whether through careful estate planning, protective insurance policies or other methods, safeguarding the income and property you have spent a lifetime obtaining is highly important. As such, when entering a marriage this level of diligence and protection should not be any different. The fact that approximately 50 percent of marriages end in a divorce is a very prudent reason for individuals to enter into prenuptial or postnuptial agreements in NY or CT. This is particularly critical when one or both parties are moderate to high net worth earners or have substantial assets they have earned before or after the marriage and through family-funded trusts, wills and estates, as divorce actions may be time-consuming, complex and costly.
In light of the above, it is essential to evaluate prenuptial and postnuptial agreements prior to entering into a marriage to preserve and protect a party’s assets and property and financial support obligations before a divorce, or even after a marriage, when both parties may attain substantial assets and property through business efforts or a family will, trust or estate, and one spouse and their families and heirs wish to protect these assets from distribution to the other spouse as part of a costly action for a divorce. Heidi E. Opinsky and her Fairfield County divorce attorneys, understand how it can be both emotionally and financially devastating to face a divorce. That is why we take the time with each and every client to evaluate all their options and provide them with the best and most comprehensive divorce representation available.
Once a settlement agreement has been reviewed, approved and signed by the court, it is a contract that is subject to all enforcement options, including the potential for a party to the agreement to be held in contempt of court for violations of the final divorce order. Before being approved, the agreement will need to be found to be fair and equitable, as well as in accordance with all relevant legal requirements. Working with an experienced divorce attorney will ensure that this happens.
Both Connecticut and New York courts are willing to enforce prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, which basically are binding contracts enforceable by a court. For Connecticut courts, recent changes in the law have made postnuptial agreements legally enforceable and binding without the marriage as consideration for the agreement, as in the case of prenuptial agreements. Overall, both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are used to designate certain assets as separate (nonmarital) property, protect the assets of a business, make provisions for payments after death or divorce (including alimony), and for expenses during a divorce (legal and expert fees), or otherwise designate how assets, income and expenses will be distributed and paid. Although these agreements are enforceable, they must satisfy the following requirements:
- The agreement is fair and equitable, specifically, there are no unconscionable terms that render the agreement invalid.
- Both parties entered into the agreement willingly, without coercion, duress, undue influence, fraud, or any other actions that may have led one party to believe he or she had no choice except to sign the agreement.
- There were no assets hidden or otherwise concealed from one party to the agreement; this includes a disclosure of all the assets, income and liabilities of each party before entering into the agreement so both parties are informed and cannot claim improprieties of the agreement later.
When a couple is going through a divorce, it is important to locate any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements. It may be that a couple entered into a prenuptial agreement that was superseded by a subsequent postnuptial agreement. Often, a postnuptial agreement is used to amend a previously executed agreement, so it is very important to present the most recent document, as well as wills, trusts and estates to which a spouse is a beneficiary. Family law counsel should review the family trusts and estate documents to ensure that these estate documents are not in conflict with the marital agreements meant to preserve and protect family-held businesses, real estate, estates, assets and property.
During a divorce action, a court will examine the prenuptial or postnuptial agreement to determine fairness and equity and if either of the parties challenges the enforcement of the agreement. Another consideration is whether both parties were represented by attorneys during the negotiation, drafting and execution of the agreement. A judge may choose not to enforce an agreement that appears to be unfair, inequitable or unconscionable and against public policy.
New York and Fairfield County Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer Heidi E. Opinsky and her seasoned team of legal professionals represent moderate to high net worth individuals who are seeking to divorce while protecting their separate property and income from distribution as part of the marital estate, or as part of spousal support awards determined by a court or sought by opposing counsel. Ms. Opinsky has successfully represented clients who need to have an agreement drafted, are seeking a divorce and want to enforce the prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, and those who want to challenge the agreements.
Skilled Divorce Representation Attorney Serving Fairfield County And New York
There are times when a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is fair and reasonable and other times where it would be a grave injustice for a court to enforce the contract. Attorney Heidi E. Opinsky’s divorce representation firm, has the knowledge and experience to navigate through these sophisticated distinctions.
Contact her today at 203-653-3542 to schedule a confidential consultation.