What You Should Know About Prenuptial Agreements in Arizona

Posted by Samantha Mary Jones on February 28th, 2020

Last year, Jeff Bezos—the world’s richest man—made headlines for all the wrong reasons. His failure to sign a prenuptial agreement cost him a massive billion in divorce settlements. Billionaires have a reputation for being very protective of their wealth, so it came as a shock to people that someone as smart and financially astute as Bezos didn’t sign a prenup before getting hitched.

Despite prenups being a hot topic in popular culture, only around 5–10% of married couples actually sign a prenuptial agreement before getting married. Couples avoid signing prenuptial agreements because they force them to imagine a scenario where their marriage ends—and no one wants to think about divorce when getting married! But when a significant amount of wealth is involved, it makes sense to get a prenup to protect your assets—especially when you have a lot of them!

The divorce rate in the USA has dropped since the 1980s from 50% to 39%, because fewer couples are getting married. Being familiar with financial struggles and the impact of divorce, millennials do believe in securing their wealth before tying the knot. In fact, prenuptial agreements have increased by 62% thanks to millennials. The younger generation is prioritizing their career and understands the significance of protecting their assets.

So what is a prenuptial agreement and how does it work?

Let’s take a look:

Prenuptial Agreements in Arizona

A prenuptial agreement—aka a “prenup”—is a legal agreement between two spouses-to-be that dictates what both parties will be owed in the unfortunate circumstance that the marriage is terminated.

A prenup clearly defines each party’s responsibilities and rights so there is no unnecessary conflict in case the married couple decides to get divorced.

What is A Valid Prenuptial Agreement in Arizona?

For a prenuptial agreement to be enforceable in the state of Arizona, it needs to be valid; this means that the agreement must be written and signed by both individuals. The prenup comes into effect as soon as the couple is married. However, in Arizona, other factors impact the validity of such an agreement.

For a prenup to be valid in Arizona, it must be:

Unconscionable – It has to be reasonable. Both parties will need to declare assets and agree on financial obligations before signing the document.

Voluntarily Executed – Neither party should feel forced to sign an agreement they are discontented with.

Full-Disclosure: Both parties need to know of each other’s assets and liabilities.

How Does a Prenup Provide Protection in Arizona?

Arizona is considered a “community property state”; this means that property that is acquired by either spouse after they get married is the communal property of both individuals.

The fact that Arizona is a community property state is relevant because the prenup will dictate the rights and responsibilities of both individuals while they’re married and in case they decide to get divorced.

Community Property Vs. Separate Property

Community property simply means that the property will be subject to division, as opposed to “separate property,” which belongs to one party.

To get a better idea of what “community property” means, consider the following example.

A couple that gets married and doesn’t opt for a prenup: during the course of the marriage, the income the couple makes is classed as community property, meaning it belongs to both partners. Contributions to retirement firms, debts incurred during the marriage and the purchase of assets are also community property.

In the event of a divorce, the property and liabilities will be split between both parties.

A prenuptial agreement gives both parties the power to dictate what is separate and community property. This way, if the marriage is dissolved, there is more clarity on who gets what.

Who Are Prenuptial Agreements For?

The reason prenuptial agreements are such a topic of discussion in pop culture is because celebrities are usually worth millions of dollars, and the lack of a prenup can cost them a huge chunk of their wealth. But prenups aren’t just for those who own millions of dollars; they’re for anyone that wants to protect their assets.

Couples should consider signing a prenuptial agreement if:

  •  Either one or both parties have valuable assets
  •  Either one or both parties own a business
  •  Either one or both parties are about to launch a business
  •  One party has major debt
  •  Either one or both parties are about to retire
  •  Either one of both parties is wealthy

How Do I Get a Prenup Agreement in Arizona?

Couples often wonder if they can draft a prenup themselves. While the answer is yes, prenuptial agreements are a serious matter. Because they discuss wealth and liabilities, it’s best to let a Divorce Attorney draft the prenup for you.

Prenups are legally binding agreements and should be taken seriously; they must be heavily detailed and clear to understand for everyone, so if the couple does decide to end their marriage, there’s no confusion about how their assets will be split.

If a prenup is poorly written and/or is ambiguous, it may not be valid or enforceable. If the couple does decide to dissolve the marriage, the court will have a harder time splitting their assets and liabilities.

A prenuptial agreement isn’t valid if:

  •  The terms are unjust or unreasonable
  •  It doesn’t contain the signature of both parties
  •  Assets and liabilities weren’t fully disclosed before the agreement was signed
  •  The listed terms are unlawful or are incompatible with public policy

To devise a prenuptial agreement that is fair to both parties and is enforceable, it’s best to hire a family law attorney. By doing so, couples avoid the many drawbacks of drafting the agreement themselves and they can rest assured that the document will hold up in court.

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Samantha Mary Jones

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Samantha Mary Jones
Joined: February 17th, 2020
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