Planning for your big day is not an easy task. While there are countless arrangements to be made for the day itself, it is important to remember to plan for the future as well. Marriage is an exciting moment in anyone’s life but when entering such an important union, it is critical you are aware of and prepared for the legal aspects as well. A premarital agreement, also referred to as a prenuptial agreement, may seem negative during such an optimistic experience but a well-tailored agreement can help avoid issues during a marriage and provide a safeguard in the event of separation or divorce.
Premarital agreements are often thought of as necessary only for the wealthy or well-known, but anyone entering a marriage with any personal or business assets can benefit. There are several common reasons couples decide on a premarital contract. They may wish to establish certain assets or inheritances to be awarded to children from a previous marriage or relationship. Without a premarital agreement, the surviving spouse can in some cases claim the majority of the deceased’s property instead of the children. A couple can also avoid financial arguments by clarifying financial rights and responsibilities of each partner during their marriage. Along with financial responsibilities, an agreement can protect a spouse against debt incurred by the other. Arizona is a communal property state and a premarital contract can shield assets from unwanted redistribution upon divorce or death.
There are certain provisions which cannot be included in the contract as per A.R.S. § 25-203. Any plans for child custody or support are forbidden as those are determined according to the best interest of the child in the future, which is indeterminable by preemptive measures. Provisions that are unconscionable or against public policy are also not allowed.
It is crucial if you and your partner are considering entering into a premarital contract, that both have independent representation. This ensures fairness and a skillful formation and execution of the agreement. Both parties must also disclose the entirety of their situation including all debts and property. Lastly, a premarital agreement is only valid if signed by both parties.
As with any legally binding contract, it is in your best interest to consult an attorney before signing. They can help explain in tangible terms the provisions of the agreement and are able to make alterations with your interests in mind. The experienced premarital agreement attorneys at Giordano Spanier & Heckele Law Firm can help draft or review premarital agreements. Call for a consultation: (520) 339-6804 or email [email protected]