Pre-Nuptial Agreements And The Protections That They Offer
Prenuptial agreements are also known as premarital agreements in Arizona. These are contracts that are formed between people intending to be married. These contracts determine what will happen if the parties get divorced or legally separated.
The premarital agreements can determine things such as whether spousal maintenance (alimony) will be paid and if so, how much and for how long; how assets and debts will be divided; whether income earned during the marriage will be considered community property or separate property; whether contributions to retirement accounts will be considered community property or separate property; whether any business formed during the marriage will be considered community property or separate property; whether one spouse will have any interest in the business formed before marriage by the other spouse.
If so, how much of an interest; whether the spouses will waive certain inheritance rights so that the step-children can inherit those assets instead; and many other important determinations. It is well known that half of all marriages end in divorce. Therefore you should consider a premarital agreement to be like an insurance policy. It will protect you from unknown outcomes in a divorce without a premarital agreement. It is important to note that a premarital agreement, at least in Arizona, cannot address in a binding way things like child custody, parenting time, or child support.
Pre-marital agreements can be attacked. That is why it is important to have your attorney prepare the premarital agreement for you; to make it as airtight as possible. Some penny-wise but dollar-foolish people have pulled premarital agreement forms from the web, only to find out that those documents are legally deficient, causing them potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost assets. In Arizona, premarital agreements must be in writing and signed by both parties. The agreement is enforceable without consideration (something in exchange). The agreement becomes effective on marriage of the parties.
The agreement is not enforceable if the person against whom enforcement is sought proves either of the following:
- The person did not execute the agreement voluntarily.
- The agreement was unconscionable when it was executed and before execution of the agreement that person:
a) Was not provided a fair and reasonable disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party.
b) Did not voluntarily and expressly waive, in writing, any right to disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party beyond the disclosure provided.
c) Did not have, or reasonably could not have had, an adequate knowledge of the property or financial obligations of the other party.
If a provision of a premarital agreement modifies or eliminates spousal support and that modification or elimination causes one party to the agreement to be eligible for support under a program of public assistance at the time of separation or marital dissolution, a court, notwithstanding the terms of the agreement, may require the other party to provide support to the extent necessary to avoid that eligibility. So in summary, a premarital agreement is a good thing for all men to have.
It is especially important to have a premarital agreement (prenuptial agreement) if a man is a high-earner or is likely to become a high-earner, or if he has a high net worth or is likely to have a high net worth in the future. If your spouse-to-be becomes offended at the suggestion of using a premarital agreement, you should stand your ground. It is better to have a bitter ex-girlfriend to whom you owe no money than to have a bitter ex-wife to whom you may be in financial slavery for many years while she shares your hard-earned money with her boyfriend.
For more information on Pre-Nuptial Agreements, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (602) 788-1395 today.