Navigating Prenuptial Agreements in Arizona

Prenuptial Agreement with a gavel and rings

Prenuptial Agreements have become increasingly common in today’s world.  While there is a prevailing view that these agreements are unromantic or pessimistic, they can actually be a practical and responsible way to protect both parties in the event of an unlikely divorce, legal separation, or annulment.

What is a Prenuptial Agreement?bride and groom signing a prenuptial agreement

A Prenuptial Agreement, or Prenup, is a written contract created between two people before they get married.

It establishes rights to property and support in case of divorce or death. The agreement typically lists each person’s assets and debts and outlines how they will be handled if the marriage ends.

Prenuptial Agreements can provide financial protection and peace of mind for both parties involved.

Is a Prenuptial Agreement Legally Binding?

A Prenuptial Agreement is a legally binding contract and should be drafted and reviewed by an attorney familiar with Arizona laws that govern Prenuptial Agreements and the issues that may arise during a divorce or legal separation.

“Do-It-Yourself” or “One-Size-Fits-All” Prenuptial Agreements downloaded from the internet or acquired from a legal forms store are not recommended.

Oftentimes, those agreements will not hold up in Court, and/or you could end up losing assets instead of protecting them as intended.

Benefits of a Prenuptial Agreement

Prenuptial Agreements can be beneficial for anyone entering into marriage, particularly when one or both individuals have assets and/or own a business, as they establish clear guidelines for how assets, debts, and other financial matters will be divided.

Protecting Individual Property

Arizona is a community property state.  This means, anything acquired during the marriage is presumed to belong to the marital community (i.e. the married couple) no matter how an asset is titled – either separately or jointly.

By entering into a Prenuptial Agreement and clearly defining asset division in the event of a divorce, legal separation, or annulment, individuals can minimize conflict, saving thousands on attorney’s fees and costs.

Without a Prenuptial Agreement, separate property obtained prior to marriage may potentially become subject to division or a lien by the marital community if it is not carefully segregated, leading to one party’s financial loss.

A well-drafted Prenuptial Agreement can prevent such uncertainties.

Customizing Financial Arrangements

Every couple has unique financial circumstances and expectations.  Prenuptial Agreements provide an opportunity to tailor financial arrangements, allowing couples to outline specific guidelines for spousal support, property division, and other financial matters.

By setting clear expectations, couples can embark on their marital journey with peace of mind and solid financial groundwork.

Child-Related Provisions

While Prenuptial Agreements primarily focus on financial matters, it’s crucial to note that any provisions regarding child custody or child support may be subject to judicial review and may not be enforceable.

Arizona courts prioritize the best interests of the child/children, and any child-related provisions in a Prenuptial Agreement must align with that principle.

It is important to consult with one of Owens & Perkins’ experienced family law attorneys to ensure that child-related provisions in a Prenuptial Agreement and are in line with Arizona’s laws.

Conclusion

Prenuptial Agreements in Arizona offer couples a valuable tool for establishing financial clarity, securing individual assets, and promoting open communication.

By understanding the legal framework involved, considering their unique circumstances, and seeking professional guidance, couples can craft a Prenuptial Agreement that provides a sense of security and reinforces their commitment to the long-term success of their partnership.

Looking to have a Prenuptial Agreement drafted or reviewed? Contact Owens & Perkins for a Zoom, phone, or in-person consultation today.