What You Need to Know About Arizona Premarital Agreements
Is the only purpose of a premarital agreement or “prenup” to prevent one spouse from not “taking half” in the event of divorce? One would think so based upon celebrity news and TV shows. But in Arizona, premarital agreements are governed by the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. Premarital agreements should ideally be structured around the couples’ needs. There is no “one size fits all.”
Parties may include details such as income, expenses, property interests, what happens to property when someone dies, and spousal maintenance. For example, if the bride has an established, profitable business, the couple may include a clause that income from the business will be used for the community and considered community income BUT the husband waives any right or claim to any ownership interest in the business. The parties may also want to specify how household expenses will be paid – for example, household expenses can be paid in proportion to the parties’ income , with the option of reexamining each parties’ share of expenses every two (2) years.
One of the biggest benefits of a premarital agreement is it can contain as many, or as few provisions as the parties require. Some individuals are primarily concerned with protecting property acquired before the marriage while others may want a more specific agreement detailing how the parties will control incomes and assets obtained during the marriage. Still others may want to include terms with respect to spousal maintenance, in the event of divorce before a particular number of years.
Maybe groom is an avid car collector and wants to ensure any cars purchased during the marriage remain his sole and separate property. Likewise, bride may collect expensive shoes or luxury handbags (stereotype alert!), and wants to ensure in case of divorce, she walks away with her fashionable accessories.
One of the most basic requirements regarding premarital agreements is they must be in writing. If a party is considering a premarital agreement, it is wise to seek the guidance of an Arizona family law attorney, as soon as possible. A party should obtain as much information regarding his or her rights and responsibilities regarding such a document before making any decisions. And such an agreement should be discussed between the parties and executed well before the date of marriage.
While a premarital agreement is a great option to plan for the future. It will define the obligations, responsibilities, as well as benefits, to both parties resulting from the marriage. However, never assume any provisions in a premarital agreement regarding child support and/or child custody will be enforced. Typically, these conditions are unenforceable.
Legal counsel is not required for drafting a premarital agreement in Arizona, but it is suggested. Likewise, a party should consult with legal counsel before signing a premarital. The chance of a premarital agreement being unenforceable and/or voided because it was poorly worded or contains unenforceable language can be an expensive gamble. If you are considering a premarital agreement, consult with an Arizona licensed family law attorney to ensure that your document meets your needs and goals.