Five Reasons to Consider a Prenuptial Agreement
Couples who are blissfully planning their wedding may not want to think about what would happen if their union ends in divorce. But many marriages do end, and often spouses are left feeling empty-handed after the divorce is finalized. To insulate your assets and preserve a financial cushion if your marriage ends, you might want to explore the idea of drafting a prenuptial agreement. It may seem insulting to your future spouse, but you both should be mindful of the following five reasons to consider a prenuptial agreement before you say, “I do.”
- You are wealthier than your spouse. When you have a lot, you have a lot more to lose. Couples who divorce in Arizona without having a prearranged agreement in place will be subjected to the state’s statutes that divide community property equitably (which usually means equally) among both spouses. This generally means that property acquired during the marriage, even if paid for in part by only one spouse’s assets from before the marriage, is subject to division. High income is also a disadvantage with respect to spousal maintenance and whether your future spouse may request it at the end of the marriage.
- Your spouse has a lot of debt. Just as community property gets divided equitably in a divorce, community bills are generally divided equally as well. If your spouse has trouble budgeting and incurs substantial debt during your marriage, you could end up being responsible for paying bills you may not even realized existed. Your prenuptial agreement can both protect your assets and shield you from a mountain of debt. Use the contract to define who will be responsible for what bills, and what will be considered community debt.
- This isn’t your first marriage. Nearly half of all spouses who get remarried bring children into the new relationship. If you have kids, you may want them to inherit the bulk of your estate to ensure they’re cared for if you pass away, or you may want to leave them heirloom possessions that you’d like to keep in your family. A prenuptial agreement can help protect your children’s inheritance in the event of a divorce.
- Your spouse is wealthier than you. A prenuptial agreement is negotiable until it’s signed. If you marry someone who has more money or assets than you, make sure your premarital agreement offers you protection as well, should the relationship end.
- You own a business. People who own a business before they get married could face some complicated issues if they divorce. You might have to give your spouse a good chunk of your stock options or liquid cash, or you could even wind up with your ex as your business partner or co-owner. Instead, use a prenuptial agreement to protect your venture.
Consult a Divorce Attorney about Your Prenuptial Agreement
Arizona laws maintain that a prenuptial agreement cannot unfairly benefit one spouse over the other, nor can it be signed under duress.
To make sure your prenuptial agreement will hold up in court, you may want to have an experienced divorce attorney draw it up. The attorneys at Udall Shumway, PLC have drafted numerous prenuptial agreements. We know what the courts will and will not accept. Let us help you create a proper premarital agreement that will leave you and your new spouse feeling comfortable and protected.
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Consider a Prenuptial Agreement, or other family law issues, please feel free to contact Barry C. Dickerson at 480.461.5300, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools, and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.