What Advantages Does a Prenuptial Agreement Offer?
Couples in Arizona who are about to marry may – and in most cases, should – prepare a prenuptial agreement (or a “prenup”) with the help and advice of a Phoenix prenuptial agreement attorney.
As you probably know, a prenuptial agreement is a financial and legal document that may allow spouses to protect their individual property, to gain protection from the other spouse’s debts, and/or to establish other terms and provisions if the marriage ends in divorce.
Do Arizona couples genuinely need to prepare a prenuptial agreement before getting married? What does preparing a prenuptial agreement require and entail? Keep reading, and you will find the answers that you and your prospective spouse may need about prenuptial agreements.
What Do Prenuptial Agreements Accomplish?
A prenuptial agreement goes into effect at the moment of marriage. When both marriage partners sign the agreement before they marry, that agreement resolves in advance many of the conflicts that would – without the agreement – come up in an Arizona divorce proceeding.
The most common provision of prenuptial agreements lists the assets and properties that will stay with their original owner should the marriage end in divorce. A “prenup” can protect any personal property that you’ve acquired before your marriage, including but not limited to:
a savings account
personal items inherited from parents or grandparents
What Else Can a Prenuptial Agreement Resolve?
A prenuptial agreement may also provide protection from creditors who seek to collect your ex-spouse’s debts, and it may establish an agreement for spousal maintenance (sometimes referred to as “alimony”) and even set the amount of spousal maintenance payments if a divorce happens.
Additionally, a “prenup” may ensure that any future income earned by an inheritance (interest, for example) will not be shared with an ex-spouse in the event of a divorce.
Why Are Prenuptial Agreements Now So Common?
Prenuptial agreements have grown in acceptance and popularity for a variety of reasons. Lynne Gold-Bikin, former chair of the American Bar Association’s family law section, says that people entering second marriages are particularly aware of a prenuptial agreement’s importance.
The number of couples in the U.S. who establish prenuptial agreements has climbed sharply since the end of the last century. In our own century, people marry later in life, so they enter a marriage with more to protect than most people who married in previous generations.
Second, third, and later marriages are also now quite common. Those who marry for a second or third time usually marry with more planning and with more consideration.
What Can’t Be Addressed by Your Prenuptial Agreement?
By law, a prenuptial agreement may not address questions regarding child custody, child support, or parental visitations. The courts in Arizona resolve child custody disputes and determine the amount of child support that will be paid after a divorce based on the best interests of the child.
Prenuptial agreements address strictly financial issues, and any term or provision of a prenup that addresses any other matter won’t be upheld by an Arizona court. Additionally, an Arizona court will not uphold a prenuptial agreement document that is clearly unfair or unjust to either spouse.
What Happens When a Prenuptial Agreement is Challenged?
If either spouse challenges a couple’s prenuptial agreement in the divorce process, an Arizona court will conduct a thorough investigation to determine if the document is unfair or otherwise unenforceable. The court will consider:
if duress or fraud was involved when the agreement was signed
if both partners completely disclosed their finances before signing
if the agreement’s terms and conditions violate any Arizona law
It’s not difficult to understand why prenups can be an uncomfortable discussion topic, especially for people who are getting married and planning a bright future. However, if both partners agree to the need for the document, a prenuptial agreement is in fact a good idea.
Why Will You Need an Attorney’s Help?
When you prepare a prenuptial agreement, avoid preprinted or downloadable blank agreement forms. You need to prepare a document that is specifically designed to meet your needs and your spouse’s needs.
Let a Phoenix prenuptial agreement lawyer prepare the unique prenuptial agreement that’s right for you, for your prospective spouse, and for each of your individual needs. Your lawyer will ensure that your agreement is legal and will be honored by an Arizona divorce court.
If you already have a prenuptial agreement, a Phoenix prenuptial agreement attorney can assess your existing agreement to ensure its legality, fairness, and enforceability. If your agreement needs a modification, your attorney will advise you and help you modify the document.
What if You Are Already Married?
If you are already married and you did not prepare a prenuptial agreement before the marriage ceremony, a Phoenix family law attorney can help you and your spouse prepare a “postnuptial agreement” that functions like a prenuptial agreement and achieves precisely the same goals.
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements may be expanded, modified, or even canceled if both spouses agree. In the Phoenix area, let an Arizona family law attorney help you and your spouse or prospective spouse prepare the agreement that’s right for each of you.
How Can You Learn More About Prenuptial Agreements?
Couples can find out more about prenuptial and postnuptial agreements by speaking with a Phoenix prenuptial agreement lawyer who can address your concerns and answer all of your legal questions.
If your fiancée or fiancé has suggested preparing a prenup (or has one prepared for you to sign), ask a family law attorney in the Phoenix area to prepare (or to review) the document and to help you understand its conditions, terms, and provisions.
How Can You Select the Right Attorney?
Arizona Family Law Attorneys can ensure that your prenuptial agreement is fair, comprehensive, enforceable, and right for you and for your spouse. We will prepare the document, make sure that you fully understand it, and offer you the sound legal advice you may need.
If you need help with any matter of family law, we can help you obtain the resolution you need. Whether we represent you in a divorce, arrange an adoption, or prepare a prenup, we make it a priority to meet your needs while protecting your legal rights and your long-term best interests.
To learn more about prenuptial and postnuptial agreements or any other matter of family law, contact the Phoenix law offices of Arizona Family Law Attorneys by promptly calling 480-268-9393 and putting our attorneys, our legal skills, and our experience to work for you.