For many years ,prenuptial agreements were mainly for the wealthy as a means of protecting their fortunes. However, today prenuptial agreements are not only for the wealthy, but for all couples who plan to marry and plan ahead.
A prenuptial agreement is a contract between a couple written before the couple marries which states how to divide up the assets in the event that the marriage ends in divorce. Perhaps some may think that if a couple is entering into a marriage with this type of thinking, the marriage may be predestined to fail; however, this has been proven to be false.
When two people start dating and become a serious couple, business and financial arrangements are not at the top of their marriage plans. Nevertheless, by planning ahead and having a pre-nup, a couple actually learns about his or her future spouse’s finances and also helps the couple prepare for future financial problems that may arise in the marriage. The matters covered in a prenuptial agreement, not only cover such items as cash and belongings, but also debt, businesses, and children from a former relationship. By laying everything out in the open before the marriage, there will be no surprises in the future.
Prenuptial agreements are not a recent development in the United States. In the past when a woman married, all of her property transferred to her new spouse, and if she did not have an agreement before marrying, she had the chance of losing everything should the marriage fail. Before The Married Woman’s Property Law of 1848, a woman not only lost any right to control property that was hers prior to the marriage, but had no rights to acquire property during her marriage as well. The law passed in 1848, and gave women the rights to control property that was theirs before a marriage, and to keep ownership of that property, too.
Arizona law defines a prenuptial agreement, also known as antenuptial agreement, as “an agreement between prospective spouses that is made in contemplation of marriage and is effective upon marriage.” These agreements must be in writing and must be signed by both parties and become effective upon the marriage of the parties.
If you are contemplating entering into a prenuptial agreement, it is important that both parties obtain legal advice, as the agreement needs to be consistent with state law or it can be overturned. An experienced Arizona Family Law attorney can point out the potential benefits and disadvantages of signing a prenuptial agreement.