Prenuptial Agreements in Arizona: Commonly Asked Questions and What You Need to Know

engaged couple considering a prenuptial agreement in arizona

As you and your partner begin to consider a Prenuptial Agreement, it is essential to understand the legal intricacies that govern their enforceability and implications, particularly concerning spousal support and financial disclosures.

Enforceability of a Prenuptial Agreement engaged couple considering a prenuptial agreement in arizona

To be legally binding in Arizona, a Prenuptial Agreement must meet certain requirements, such as:

  • The agreement must be in writing;
  • Voluntarily entered into by both parties; and
  • Provide a fair and reasonable disclosure of assets and debts.

If there is evidence of fraud, coercion, or lack of mental capacity, or if the terms of the agreement are deemed unconscionable at the time the agreement was entered, a Court may consider the agreement unenforceable.

However, pursuant to Arizona law, as long as the three (3) elements bullet-pointed above are present, prenuptial agreements are presumed to be valid and enforceable, and it is the burden of the spouse challenging it to provide sufficient evidence of such fraud, coercion, lack of capacity, or unconscionability to prove that it is not valid or is unenforceable.

Implications for Spousal Support

In Arizona, a Prenuptial Agreement can impact spousal support (also known as alimony or spousal maintenance).

If a valid and enforceable Prenuptial Agreement addresses spousal support, it may limit or even waive the right to spousal support in the event of a divorce or legal separation.

Like other terms in the agreement, the Court can find such provisions unenforceable or void if, as stated previously, there is evidence of fraud, coercion, lack of mental capacity to enter, or if the agreement was unconscionable when entered (not at the time it is being enforced or challenged).

Otherwise if the agreement is enforceable, then any terms waiving spousal support are valid and could take the issue of spousal support out of the Court’s jurisdiction and ability to review or modify the same.

It is essential to carefully consider how spousal support is addressed in a Prenuptial Agreement to ensure that the agreement protects your interests.

Financial Disclosures Required When Drafting a Prenuptial Agreement

Financial transparency is a cornerstone in Prenuptial Agreements as both parties are required to provide a comprehensive view of their assets and debts.

While there are no strict mandates on the extent of financial documentation to be provided, typically what is required at the very least is a comprehensive list of assets, debts, and income for each of the parties.

Exchanging detailed records like bank statements, tax filings, and property deeds is not required unless requested by one of the parties during the disclosure and negotiation process.

Understanding the enforceability of Prenuptial Agreements, implications on spousal support, and the importance of financial disclosures can empower couples to embark on this journey confidently and with clarity.

Is Legal Representation Needed?

While you are not legally required to have an attorney draft or review a Prenuptial Agreement, it is highly advisable for each party to seek legal counsel to review and advise them in connection with the agreement to ensure that the agreement is legally enforceable, that it properly reflects your intentions, and that each party fully understands the legal implications of the agreement and its terms.

A few thousand dollars spent to retain an attorney to draft or review your Prenuptial Agreement could end up saving you tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in the event of a divorce or legal separation later.

Conclusion

At Owens & Perkins, one of our licensed attorneys can provide guidance on the specific requirements and considerations of a prenuptial agreement, help you understand your rights and obligations under the agreement, and ensure that your interests are protected.

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