Arizona Prenuptial / Postnuptial Agreement Attorneys

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are meant to address the same types of issues. While those issues may be wide-ranging, financial issues are by far the most commonly addressed by both types of agreements. Still, there are significant differences between prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. If you’re considering a prenuptial agreement, it’s important to have reliable information about how to execute a valid agreement, what can and can’t be included, and why relying on postnuptial agreements can be riskier.

The experienced family law attorneys at Lincoln & Wenk can guide you through the process of determining what to include in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement and then draft the documents for you. To learn more about how we can protect your rights and make the process as stress-free as possible, call 623-201-8849 right now.

Prenuptial Agreements in Arizona

Prenuptial agreements, also known as premarital agreements, are governed by Arizona statute ARS 25-202. Under Arizona law, an enforceable prenuptial agreement must be executed in writing and signed by both parties prior to the marriage. No consideration is required for a prenuptial agreement.

Keep in mind that a prenuptial agreement may not be enforced if the court finds that:

  • Either party did not enter into the agreement voluntarily or
  • The agreement was unconscionable at the time it was signed and the party challenging the agreement did not receive adequate financial disclosures

Some people who are preparing to marry find it awkward to raise the issue of a prenuptial agreement, or are uncomfortable negotiating the terms. While that’s understandable, our family law attorneys have found that it can be beneficial to a couple to talk through these issues in advance and reach an agreement. It ensures that there are no misunderstandings or assumptions that could cause conflict later. And, if your marriage does end in divorce, a solid prenuptial agreement can cut down on stress, conflict, cost, and even the amount of time it takes to finalize your divorce.

What is Included in a Prenuptial Agreement?

Most people think of a prenuptial agreement as an agreement that will determine how their property is divided in the event of a divorce. Though that is the most common reason for entering into a premarital agreement, it’s not the only one. In Arizona, a prenuptial agreement can also include provisions regarding how property is controlled or managed during the marriage.

For example, a couple can agree that property that would normally be considered community property in Arizona will remain separate property. There are many non-divorce-related reasons a couple might want that provision. For example, if spouses each already have children, keeping certain property separate offers a less complicated path for the children to inherit from their respective parents. Designating property as separate can also protect property from the other spouse’s creditors. Ultimately, how property is designated in the prenuptial agreement will dictate how that property is treated in a divorce.

This extends to more than just the marital home and bank accounts. For example, a prenuptial agreement might be used to ensure that a business owned before the marriage remains separate property, despite profits earned or increase in value during the marriage. Similarly, a premarital agreement can designate retirement accounts as separate property. Typically any contributions to retirement during the marriage would be considered community property subject to division in a divorce, but a prenuptial agreement can designate that one or both parties’ retirement account(s) and contributions remain their sole and separate property.

There are very few restrictions as to what can be included in an Arizona prenuptial agreement:

  • The parties cannot agree to anything unlawful, and
  • The agreement cannot adversely affect child support

A prenuptial agreement may also include terms regarding spousal maintenance, also known as alimony. However, if the limitation on or elimination of a right to spousal support in a prenuptial agreement would result in one party becoming eligible for public assistance on separation or divorce, the court may disregard that provision and require the other spouse to provide sufficient support to avoid that outcome.

Though it’s far less common, a premarital agreement may even include provisions about how household expenses will be shared, who is responsible for certain types of tasks, and how disputes will be resolved.

Postnuptial Agreements in Arizona

In some ways, postnuptial agreements are very similar to prenuptial agreements. A postnuptial agreement can address all of the same issues that can be addressed in a prenuptial agreement. Like a prenuptial agreement, a valid postnuptial agreement must be signed by both parties. The parties must have entered into the agreement voluntarily, and with adequate financial disclosures.

However, there are some differences. While prenuptial agreements are explicitly enforceable by ARS 25-202, postnuptial agreements aren’t mentioned in the statute. Instead, they are given full force and effect by Arizona case law, which requires that they be entered into without contemplation of separation or divorce.

For most people, prenuptial agreements are preferable to postnuptial agreements. That’s partly because they allow a couple to make sure they’re on the same page before marriage, and to resolve whatever issues they choose to include up front, rather than discovering over time that they had differing expectations. However, if you are already married and don’t have a prenuptial agreement or have discovered that your prenuptial agreement no longer suits your goals or addresses all of your issues, a postnuptial agreement can be an effective tool.

Our Experience with Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements Can Work for You

If you need a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, it’s critical to ensure that you’ve fulfilled all of the legal requirements for drafting and executing a valid agreement. At Lincoln & Wenk, we know exactly what’s required to create the strongest agreement possible. We also know that navigating this process can be stressful, and that you may not have thought of every issue that should be addressed in your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

We’re here to help, from beginning to end. We’ll discuss your goals with you, ask questions to make sure you aren’t overlooking anything, negotiate with your intended spouse’s attorney if necessary, and draft your agreement. We’ll also help you ensure that you’ve met the requirements for financial disclosures and that your future spouse has been afforded the opportunity to consider the agreement and consult an attorney so you’re less likely to face challenges later.

To learn more, call 623-201-8849 right now or fill out the contact form on this site.

Call us at 623-294-2464 or contact us to schedule your consultation today.

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