First comes love, then comes marriage – but what comes in between?
Prenuptial Agreements, of course.
You may be familiar with the term Prenuptial Agreement by frequently used terms such as, “prenup” or “premarital agreement”. A prenuptial agreement is an agreement between prospective spouses that is made in contemplation of marriage and that is effective on marriage. Although the term generally carries negative connotations, we are here to explain what a prenuptial agreement is, who it applies to, and why it is smart to have one.
Creating a prenuptial agreement does not mean you are planning for a failed marriage, separation or divorce. It means you are interested in protecting your hard-earned assets, along with those of your spouse – with as much clarity, security and predictability as possible.
Protecting Your Interests
Arizona Revised Statute §25-201 et seq. permits two people to voluntarily enter into a valid prenuptial agreement before they marry. Generally, the agreement establishes each parties’ rights and responsibilities for the duration of the marriage and outlines the obligations and provisions of each party if the marriage ends in separation, dissolution or death. While prenuptial agreements are utilized frequently in today’s world, they are not simple agreements and should be entered into with the help of an experienced attorney.
It is important to note that while prenuptial agreements are broad and can include property interests, debt and expenses; they can also outline the division of property and spousal maintenance, should the need arise in the future. Each party should seek legal counsel and representation to assure full disclosure and fairness during the negotiating process.
Why Would I be Interested in a Prenuptial Agreement?
There are several reasons why someone might consider a prenuptial agreement before their wedding day:
- There are significant assets;
- One of the parties owns all or a portion of a business;
- There are children from previous marriages;
- One party has considerable debt they are bringing into the marriage;
- One party is older than the other; and
- One party is notably wealthier than the other
Prenuptial agreements can be structured uniquely to address a broad range of affairs, or tailored to protect exclusive properties and interests of each party. In an age where divorce rates are skyrocketing, and room for error is limited, having a prenup gives each party comfort knowing they have protection of the things that are most important to them.
If you are contemplating a prenuptial agreement, we have experienced lawyers who are able to smoothly guide you through this process, and have the knowledge needed to protect what is most important to you.
Common Mistakes People Make with Prenuptial Agreements
While having a prenuptial agreement can alleviate some of the painful complications of separation or divorce, there are several common mistakes that people make which can pose severe implications to the validity, effectiveness and enforceability in court. These complications often present themselves in the following scenarios:
- The prenup was signed under duress, or sprung upon either party last minute.
- Only one spouse had an attorney, creating the potential for unfairness or an imbalance of wealth in the marriage.
- The other party was mentally incompetent, or under the influence of a mind altering substance at the time of signing.
- The agreement interferes with child custody or legal decision making without consideration for the best interest of the child(ren), or adversely affects child support obligations.
Do I Need An Attorney?
It is best for both the bride and groom to hire separate legal counsel to ensure that the prenuptial agreement is effective, enforceable and most importantly, agreeable to both parties.
If you think a prenuptial agreement could be beneficial to you, or you need help drafting or reviewing a prenuptial agreement, call us at (602) 687-6248 to discuss the specifics of your case with an experienced attorney.