When a couple decides to get married, usually the last thing they want
to think about is "what happens if we get a divorce?" Well,
if either party is bringing assets (real property, investments, etc.)
into the marriage that they want to protect and keep as separate property,
they should consider a prenuptial agreement.
Most people have heard about a pre-nuptial agreement, but don't really know what it is. In a nutshell, a pre-nuptial agreement is an agreement between two parties made before they get married that specifically identifies how certain property is going to be treated during the marriage, and upon dissolution of the marriage. The agreement memorializes the assets that each party is bringing into the marriage as separate property. This characterization of the asset continues during the course of the marriage and/or dissolution of the marriage. The prenuptial agreement can also include a description as to how those assets are to be treated during the marriage. For example, if one party owns a rental home, the pre-nuptial can describe who is entitled to the rental income and how that income is to be characterized.
Although a pre-nuptial agreement sounds pretty innocuous, don't be fooled! A pre-nuptial agreement is a binding agreement and must be taken very seriously. Whatever the parties agree to, they are going to be held to that agreement should they get divorced. Also, in order for a pre-nuptial agreement to be valid and enforceable, it must comply with Arizona law. Therefore, it is always best to seek the advice of an experienced attorney if you are considering one.
You might be wondering what happens if you are already married and you didn't do a pre-nuptial agreement? Well, it may still be possible to protect your assets. If a married couple agrees, they can enter into a post-nuptial agreement.
If you would like to schedule a frr 30-minute phone consultation to find out more about prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements, please call us at (480) 630-2464.