Issues to consider in a prenuptial agreement

On Behalf of | May 6, 2024 | Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements are becoming more common to protect the separate interests of partners who are planning to get married. This document can serve a number of functions, including designating which assets are subject to being divided if the spouses get a divorce or addressing whether or not spousal maintenance (alimony) is available if the marriage ends. A prenuptial agreement must be very specific and must be executed properly in order to better ensure enforceability.

If you’re considering entering into a prenuptial agreement, you must ensure that your agreement is legally enforceable. There are certain items that can’t be included in your agreement, and other items that are the basic building blocks of the prenuptial agreement.

What makes the agreement enforceable?

Arizona law requires that a prenuptial agreement is in writing, signed by both parties. The parties must enter into the agreement voluntarily. Each party must disclose his or her property and debts to the other. Believe it or not, a prenuptial agreement can be considered “fair” even if the parties’ agreements seem one-sided.

Child-related terms

Child custody terms must be based on the children’s best interests at the time that a decision concerning their welfare is made. These circumstances cannot be known at the time a prenuptial agreement is created. A prenuptial agreement is generally not used to define terms related to how the parents will raise children during their marriage and cannot be used to pre-determine arrangements related to child support in the event of a divorce.

Preventative peacekeeping

Although one primary purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to define the spouses’ property rights in the unlikely event of a divorce, many people overlook the fact that a prenuptial agreement can also ensure that the spouses are on the same page about how their household finances will be managed during their marriage. Discussing these issues and making financial decisions prior to the marriage can go a long way toward preventing the types of disagreements that take their toll on the marriage.

Timing is everything

A prenuptial agreement becomes effective at the time the parties get married. Although the document can be signed any time prior to the marriage occurring, it’s best not to rush the preparation and execution of this document. Although you aren’t required to hire an attorney, you must each have the opportunity to seek independent legal advice before entering into the agreement. Both parties must be given a proper opportunity to review and understand the document before they sign, so it’s best not to wait until just before the wedding to decide that a prenuptial agreement is a good idea.

It’s best to work with a legal representative who can ensure that your prenuptial agreement is set up in a legally enforceable manner. Starting this process well in advance of the wedding can provide you and your betrothed the time to clearly consider the terms the agreement should contain.