Law Offices of Matthew S. Schultz, P.C.

Prenups: how do I know if one is right for me?

Prenuptial agreement is a term that seems to be thrown around a lot, but what does it really mean? What is the effect of a prenuptial agreement? Who could benefit from a prenup? How should the subject be approached? These are all questions that a divorce attorney can provide advice for based on individual circumstances to help a couple determine if they should draft one -- but a little general information now can be helpful too.

A prenuptial agreement is a contract between spouses that helps determine guidelines on how certain aspects of a divorce should be handled. It gives the couple control over the process, also taking away much of the uncertainty involved in having assets distributed by the state. In Arizona, the law requires a 50/50 split of all marital or community property not covered by a prenuptial agreement.

It is important for couples to understand that prenuptial agreements are not just for those with large estates. Are you a small business owner? Do you expect to receive an inheritance? Does one spouse have a lot of debt? Is there an income disparity between the two spouses? Do one or both spouses have children from a previous marriage?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to consider discussing a prenuptial agreement with a Phoenix attorney.

After a couple determines that a prenuptial agreement is a good idea, one must be drafted. This part of the process requires full financial disclosure from both parties. Failure to fully disclose every aspect of their financial picture could result in an agreement that the court later finds to be invalid or unenforceable.

Once a prenuptial agreement has been drafted, it isn’t necessarily a document that is put into a safety deposit box and left to gather dust. A couple’s financial situation may change, and they may want to consider amending the agreement.

Source: Bankrate, “Everything you need to know about prenuptial agreements,” Accessed Jan. 24, 2014

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