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Prenuptial Agreements
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Prenuptial and Marital Agreements

Prenuptial and marital agreements are becoming more and more popular among people contemplating marriage. There are a variety of reasons that someone would enter into a prenuptial agreement before marriage, but historically a prenuptial agreement is used to maintain individual ownership of property and assets.

Scottsdale Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer

The decision to get married is a big step in someone’s life. It is to your advantage to set some ground rules for your marriage so that you and your future spouse understand what both of you want out of the marriage.

Doug Daly can provide legal advice from the very beginning of your marriage to make sure you understand your individual rights and the rights and benefits both of you share after marriage. The Daly Law Firm has the knowledge and experience to help you successfully create a prenuptial agreement.

If you are contemplating marriage in the Phoenix, Scottsdale, Maricopa County area, don’t hesitate to call Doug Daly at (480) 607-8308 for a free consultation regarding all of your legal pre-marital concerns.


Prenuptial Agreement Information Center


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Why do people sign prenuptial agreements?

Many people sign prenups for a variety of reasons but some of the most common reasons are:

  • Keep finances separate
  • Protect each other from debt
  • Provide for children from other marriages
  • Define property division if divorce occurs
  • Clarify responsibilities during marriage
  • Estate planning

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What are the Arizona requirements for a prenuptial agreement?

The state of Arizona has laid out the requirements for prenuptial agreements under the Arizona Revised Statutes §25-201 - §25-205. The Arizona Uniform Premarital Agreement Act requirements for valid prenup agreements are:

  1. All valid prenups must be in writing and signed by both parties.
    • It is advisable for both parties to retain their own lawyers when drafting a prenup. It is difficult for one lawyer to serve the interests of two people. If you are asked to sign a prenup, hire a lawyer to look over it for you to ensure you are maintaining your rights in the marriage.
  2. All valid prenups cannot be go against public policy or be unconscionable.
    • For example you can’t put into the prenup that your wife has to work as a prostitute or that your husband has to rob banks to pay expenses. Basically you cannot contract for something that is illegal in your prenup.
  3. All valid prenups cannot make plans about custody or child support.
    • The standard in regards to custody and child support is the best interest of the child so it is impossible to lay out a binding contract that provides for the best interest of the child ahead of time.

Once a valid Arizona prenuptial agreement has been properly executed it becomes effective upon the marriage of the parties.


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What can’t I put into an Arizona Prenuptial agreement?

The main things that you cannot put into a prenup include:

  • Anything that is illegal or against Arizona state policy
    • An example of something illegal is a criminal act like agreeing not to pay income taxes.
    • An example of something against public policy is making an agreement about child support or child custody in a prenup.
  • Anything that restricts child support, child custody or visitation rights
  • Under public policy Arizona says the best interest of the child governs child support and child custody issues. The state does not want private agreements to influence the well being of children because the private agreement might not be in the best interest for the child.

  • You shouldn’t put things that “encourage” divorce
  • Before judges used to frown on prenups that gave large money and property awards if the parties divorced. Now the courts will enforce these prenups if you follow the requirements for a valid prenup. It is important to receive legal advice when constructing a prenup to make sure that you put in provisions that the court will enforce.

  • Make rules about personal matters
  • You need to seek legal advice about whether or not it would be beneficial to put in rules about personal matters. It might help clarify your daily married life, but judges can get annoyed when you parade a list of things such as:

    • We have to see every movie that stars Julia Roberts.
    • My husband must do the laundry every Tuesday.
    • My wife can’t cook spaghetti more than once a month.
    • We have to go out for date night twice a month.

On one hand it could be helpful to lay out these things, but it sometimes appears frivolous to the court if you try to enforce these types of rules because generally they are not legally binding. Seek your attorney's advice on how to best incorporate your major concerns into a prenup.


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How do I enforce a prenuptial agreement?

Often times people want prenups enforced when they are getting a divorce. Generally Arizona courts will enforce prenups if the document meets the requirements laid out in the Arizona Uniform Premarital Agreement Act.

If one party is able to prove to the court that the prenup did not follow the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act requirements or there was:

  • Fraud/Duress
  • Unfairness
  • Lack of legal representation at the time of signing the agreement;

It is possible for the court to not enforce the prenuptial agreement. An example of when a court may not enforce a prenup is where the marriage is determined to be void or not legally recognized.


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Can I modify a Prenuptial Agreement in Arizona?

Any prenuptial agreement may be modified, amended or revoked at any time by written agreement signed by the parties.


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Can I sign a postnuptial agreement?

Sometimes after people get married, they want to sign a postnup to clarify their relationship or deal with property. You are free to sign a postnup agreement and generally the postnups address the same issues as the prenups. Two important differences between the postnup and the prenup are:

  • Postnups are not governed under the Arizona Uniform Premarital Agreement Act.
  • Sometimes it is harder to get post marital agreements enforced because the burden of proof is higher than for pre-marital agreements.

Resources

Prenupital Agreements.org - Resources about why you should consider a prenuptial agreement, and how to talk to your spouse about prenuptial agreements.


Daly Law Firm, PLLC – Phoenix Marital Agreement Attorney

It is best to clarify legal and personal issues before you walk down the aisle. The Daly Law Firm has the knowledge and experience to help you successfully write a clear prenuptial agreement that protects both your individual rights and your rights as a married couple. If you are thinking about marriage in the Phoenix, Scottsdale, Maricopa County area, don’t hesitate to call Doug Daly at (480) 607-8308 for a free consultation regarding your legal pre-marital questions.

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