Getting married is an exciting time and momentous step in one’s life. But as you begin to plan for the big day and think about the days ahead with your future spouse, you should also begin to consider the legal consequences that flow from getting married. For some people, a premarital agreement (a.k.a. “prenuptial agreement,” “prenup,” or “antenuptial agreement”) is the right tool to use to plan for the future because they can define certain ground rules of the marriage.
Premarital agreements are used for a variety of reasons, including to set forth a clear, agreed-upon property distribution in the event of a divorce or breakup of marriage; to preserve property as “separate” from otherwise becoming “community” property; to specifically provide financial support for children from a previous marriage; to provide protection from incurred debts; and to delineate various rights and obligations during the marriage.
In Arizona, premarital agreements are governed by A.R.S. § 25-201 through A.R.S. § 25-205. A valid premarital agreement in Arizona has a number of requirements. Premarital agreements, for example, must be in writing and signed by both parties. They also may not contain provisions planning for child custody or child support — those issues must be resolved by the best interest of the child, and it is impossible to tell what the future best interest of the child will be ahead of time. Finally, the provisions of a premarital agreement cannot be unconscionable or be against public policy. So, for example, the agreement cannot mandate that your future spouse commit crimes to provide financial support for the family. Such a provision would be against public policy.
It is essential for the parties contemplating the formation and execution of a premarital agreement to ensure that both sides have independent representation. It is very difficult, if not impossible, for one attorney to represent both future spouses. It is also essential that the parties fully disclose all property and debts.
If you are considering a premarital agreement or have been asked to sign one, it is wise to consult an attorney. The experienced Arizona premarital agreements attorneys at Giordano & Heckele, PLLC can assist you with drafting or review of a premarital agreement. CALL TODAY for a consultation: (520) 433-9031. Or email us at [email protected].