Pre-nuptial and Post-nuptial Agreements
Are you getting married? Congratulations! Have you discussed a pre-nuptial agreement?
Do you think a prenup is not necessary because you or your fiancé have no assets or debts or they are minimal? Most people do not want to discuss these issues because it is a touchy subject when planning your future together. You don’t want to discuss what happens if…. but it should be discussed for you each party to understand how it protects both of you down the road. Think of it as insurance.
A prenuptial agreement or post-nuptial agreement is a contract between both parties and in the event the marriage crumbles and you end up in a divorce or one of you dies, it determines the outcome. A prenup can define spousal maintenance, how property is held especially in Arizona (a community property state), division of retirement accounts, how to divide a separate asset (like a house owned by one party before marriage), etc. The prenup reflects what both parties want to do in the event of a death or divorce and makes the divorce in most cases, less expensive. It is not just for those with substantial assets to protect.
One party can still try to invalidate a prenup after they split up. A well-written prenuptial agreement executed by both parties, that were both represented and had a chance to review each other’s assets and debts before entering into the prenuptial agreement makes that less likely.
A judge can set aside a prenuptial agreement if they find the agreement to be substantially unfair or one-sided or if they determine that one person was coerced or signed the prenuptial agreement under duress.
We recommended that the agreement be drafted at least a month or more before marriage. Sometimes people will come to us for a prenuptial agreement just days before the wedding when both parties are already stressed over making everything perfect. A prenuptial agreement is not valid unless the marriage is finalized so why not enter into it before the final wedding plans are completed.
To protect both of you, make sure you choose a reputable firm to prepare your pre-nuptial agreement. Both parties should have representation to negotiate the terms and make sure proper disclosures of assets/debts are provided to each and in many cases, a prenuptial agreement can be signed before a court reporter or videographer should one party attempt to dispute the validity of the prenuptial agreement.
For many individuals who have already gone through a divorce and divided assets or even have children from a prior marriage, they often are the first to discuss a prenup because they know what it cost (emotionally and financially) to divorce and never thought about having a prenuptial agreement the first go-around. Unfortunately, an alarming percentage of marriages end in divorce.
Are you already married and have concerns about your finances or want to protect yourself in the event of death or divorce? Perhaps it is making your marriage harder than it should be with uncertainties. A post-nuptial agreement can still be entered into. It’s not too late. It is highly recommended that both parties have separate representation in a post-nuptial agreement.
Lewis Labadie is committed to providing quality legal assistance for our clients and protecting your rights. Contact our office now to schedule your consultation.
Brittany Labadie is the Managing Partner at Lewis Labadie. She has been working with Lewis Labadie since it opened. Her current focus is with adoption cases, including juvenile adoptions, adult adoptions, foster care adoptions, same-sex adoption, surrogacy adoptions, and when necessary termination of parental rights. She works throughout the State of Arizona.