You’re planning your walk down the aisle, and you hear your future spouse say the words, “prenuptial agreement.” For some, a prenuptial agreement is the beginning of the end, but don’t let people convince you that by signing a prenuptial agreement, you’re setting your marriage up to fail. At the end of the day, prenups are a form of protection that helps a couple plan for the future. Couples plan for the future all the time. They open joint savings accounts or set up wills and trusts, and a prenup should not be considered any different.
Prenups are not just for the wealthy. What most people don’t realize is that when it comes to divorce, a state’s laws are usually “default” laws. By signing a prenuptial agreement in Arizona, a couple can contract around the default laws. For example, Arizona is a community property state. So in Arizona, by default, all property acquired before a marriage is considered the separate property of each spouse, and all property acquired during the marriage is considered the property of the marital community. Through a prenup, these rules can be broken. A married couple can agree to keep all or some property separate, or they can agree to change a piece of separate property into community property.
Every couple is different. So, every prenup should be different, too. You can draft a prenup that best suits you and your partner’s situation. For example, if you purchased the home you plan to live in as a married couple, it is up to you to decide how you want that asset to be considered upon divorce. If you would like it to stay your separate property, then you may want to include this in your prenup so you can avoid any future confusion or argument. On the other hand, you both may agree to take on the property together as a married couple and decide that the house should be considered part of the community.
You can also customize your prenup to include family heirlooms, inherited property or income, management of joint bank accounts, separate businesses, retirement benefits, estate plans in the event of a death, liability for spousal debts, mediation or arbitration clauses during divorce, and supporting one spouse through school.
So, if you are considering a prenup, take your time and make a plan that best fits your situation. You will want to hire a trusted and experienced family law attorney. Contact us online or call us at 480-345-2652 to schedule your consultation.