Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements
Utilizing a Divorce Attorney in Phoenix
Prenuptial agreements, sometimes called premarital agreements, are made between couples that want to clearly and legally establish the details of the assets and property they are bringing into the marriage so that there is no dispute in case the marriage is dissolved at some later time. Couples that are already married can also elect to enter into a postnuptial agreement, which is essentially the same thing.
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are often contested by one or the other in the emotional fallout of a divorce proceeding, and it is important for such a contract to be thoroughly prepared in order to withstand the legal scrutiny of the court. In a recent survey, more than one-third of adults said that prenuptial agreements made smart financial sense, especially during an economic recession. The divorce rate in America was about 50% in 2008, and 40% of those who are divorced say that they would ask their significant other to sign a prenuptial agreement if they remarried.
How a Prenuptial Agreement Works
Asset and property distribution in a Phoenix divorce is normally done under community property regulations. This means that all assets and property are considered to belong to both spouses regardless of whose name they may be registered under. A prenuptial agreement can be used to suspend or modify such distribution, but five elements must be present at the time that the agreement is developed to make it a legally binding contract, including:
- The agreement must be executed voluntarily by both parties
- The agreement cannot be unconscionable, or extremely unfair to one party
- The agreement must be put into writing, rather than done orally
- Both parties must agree to full disclosure when drawing up the contract
- The agreement must be executed by both parties, rather than their attorneys
Failing to adhere to any of these terms may mean that the prenuptial agreement will be unenforceable when a marriage is ended, so it is important to make sure that you enlist the help of an experienced legal professional when you have made the decision to enter into such an agreement. In doing so, you may be able to avoid dealing with the trouble of a contested contract later on. To make sure that your bases are covered, consult with The Wallin Law Firm before taking any action.
The Benefits of Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements
Community distribution during a divorce can become complex when there are both old and new assets, as well as old and new debts that become difficult to isolate from each other. A postnuptial agreement can help clarify for both parties what their individual contributions and ownership is when one of them starts a new business during the marriage. In situations where there is a large difference in the income or assets prior to the marriage, a prenuptial can also help clarify what each party's expectations and rights are. These agreements can only be used in regard to community property distribution, however, as they cannot be applied to other matters of a divorce—like a child custody arrangement. Even so, such an agreement is a practical way to a) protect your property, b) reduce conflict in the future, c) support your estate plan and d) differentiate between marital and community property.
Do I need to hire a lawyer?
When dealing with such a sensitive legal matter, it is usually a good idea to make sure that your rights will be protected. You never want to doubt the intentions of your future or current spouse, but you should also be fully aware of what terms and conditions you will be agreeing to before signing your name on a legally binding contract. For this reason, you should not hesitate to enlist the help of a Phoenix divorce attorney that truly understands the ins and outs of this legal process.
At The Wallin Law Firm, we are well-equipped to assist our clients with a wide variety of family law matters, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements being one. As such, you can rest assured that we will be by your side to look out for your best interests and advise you on how to proceed when you ask us to assist you with this sensitive legal issue. You can contact us today to learn more.