Prenuptial/ Postnuptial Agreements

Tucson Prenuptial Agreements & Postnuptial Agreements Lawyers 

Assisting Clients With Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements in Pima County

Marriages are significant financial arrangements. They can change your household income, mix your assets with your spouse’s, and impact how you file your taxes. It is reasonable then that divorce can also significantly alter your situation. One of the most important and frequently contentious decisions that spouses must make when dissolving their marriage is how to divide their assets

Fortunately, you and your partner can take steps before and during your marriage to protect your interests and make dividing assets less stressful if a divorce does occur. One of the most common things couples do is sign a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement, or both. 

At McNorton Fox PLLC, our Tucson marital agreement lawyers can help you understand the differences between these marital contracts and their respective pros and cons before you agree to sign one. We also help clients prepare, negotiate, and/or contest premarital and postnuptial agreements. 

Call (520) 415-2970 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced prenuptial & postnuptial agreement lawyers, or send us your questions using our contact form.

What are Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements?

A prenuptial agreement, often referred to as a "prenup," is considered a legally binding contract entered into by a couple before they marry. This agreement outlines the ownership of their individual assets, financial responsibilities, and property division in the event of a divorce.

A postnuptial agreement, or "postnup," is similar in purpose but is executed after the couple is already married. Both types of agreements serve to protect individual assets and set clear financial expectations, promoting transparency and reducing potential conflicts.

Benefits of a Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreement

  • Asset Protection: One of the direct benefits of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements is the protection of individual assets. These agreements allow both parties to designate which assets are considered separate property and which are marital property. This distinction is crucial in preserving inheritances, business interests, and other significant assets acquired before or during the marriage.
  • Debt Allocation: Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can specify how debts will be handled in the marriage. This provision helps prevent one spouse from being held liable for the other's debts, whether they exist or were incurred during the marriage. Clear terms regarding debt responsibility can alleviate financial stress and provide clarity for both parties.
  • Financial Transparency: Creating a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement requires both parties to disclose their financial situations fully. This process fosters honesty and transparency, allowing couples to enter or continue their marriage with a clear understanding of each other's financial expectations and responsibilities. This openness can strengthen trust and communication within the relationship.
  • Business Protection: For individuals who own a business or have a stake in one, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are vital in protecting these interests. These agreements may outline how the business will be valued and divided or if it will remain separate property, ensuring the continued operation and ownership structure of the business in the event of a divorce.
  • Alimony and Spousal Support: Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements may include provisions for alimony or spousal support. By establishing these terms in advance, couples can avoid contentious disputes and litigation over spousal support should the marriage end. This clarity can provide financial security and predictability for both parties.
  • Child Protection: While prenuptial and postnuptial agreements cannot dictate child custody or support arrangements, they can include provisions that protect assets intended for children from previous relationships. This ensures that these assets are preserved and properly allocated according to the individual's wishes, offering additional security for children's futures.
  • Simplifying Divorce Proceedings: Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can significantly simplify the divorce process by pre-determining the division of assets and financial responsibilities. These agreements can reduce a divorce's emotional and financial toll by minimizing conflicts and providing a clear roadmap for asset division, allowing both parties to move forward more smoothly.

Understanding Premarital Agreements and Postnuptial Agreements 

Arizona is a community property state, meaning that couples share all property acquired over the course of their marriage and must divide it equally between themselves in a divorce. There are specific exceptions for property acquired before the start of the marriage or as a gift, but these assets must be kept from commingling with communal assets during the marriage. 

Prenuptial agreements are marital contracts negotiated prior to marriage that may prevent your assets from being divided according to the default Arizona laws. These are sometimes called premarital agreements or simply “prenups.” They can regulate a specific asset or multiple assets and can help determine spousal support arrangements. Alternatively, couples may negotiate postnuptial agreements while they are married to regulate the same financial items. 

Couples may use these contracts for any of the following purposes: 

  • To separate complex business assets from community property
  • To designate assets for children from a prior relationship
  • To establish guidelines for the maintenance of specific assets
  • To modify or establish guidelines for spousal support
  • To supplement a will or trust

Furthermore, Arizona allows marital agreements to regulate any other matters related to personal rights, obligations, and assets, so long as they do not violate the law. 

Aside from when they are signed, there are other important differences between these two contracts, such as their limitations and how they’re enforced. There are also rules that must be followed to ensure their validity. Therefore, it is essential to speak with a marital agreement attorney familiar with local premarital and postnuptial contract laws and regulations.

Divorce Without a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement

When a couple divorces without a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, the division of assets and determination of support obligations fall under the jurisdiction of state laws. In Arizona, community property laws play a crucial role in these proceedings. Community property means that all assets and debts acquired during the marriage are considered equally owned by both spouses, regardless of who earned or incurred them.

Without a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, the court will divide marital property equally between the spouses. This includes tangible assets like homes, vehicles, and personal property, as well as intangible assets such as retirement accounts and business interests. The division process starts with identifying which assets are considered marital property and which are separate property. Separate property, including assets owned before the marriage or acquired by gift or inheritance, typically remains with the original owner.

In addition to asset division, the absence of a marital agreement also affects spousal support or alimony. The court will evaluate various factors to determine if one spouse is entitled to support and the amount and duration of such support. These factors include the length of the marriage, the standard of living during the marriage, each spouse's financial resources, and the recipient spouse's ability to become self-sufficient.

Child custody and support are also determined without the guidance of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. The court's primary concern is the best interests of the child, considering factors such as the child's relationship with each parent, the health and stability of each parent, and the child's adjustment to home, school, and community.

Navigating a divorce without a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can be complex and emotionally challenging. It is essential to seek legal advice to ensure your rights are protected and to achieve a fair outcome in the division of assets, spousal support, and child custody arrangements.

Contact Our Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreement Attorney in Tucson Today

Requesting a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is not an indication or admission that your marriage will end in divorce. Rather, it demonstrates a recognition that you and your spouse have unique financial interests and assets that could potentially complicate a divorce, should one occur. 

Whether you are engaged or already married, our family law attorneys at McNorton Fox PLLC can help negotiate a marital contract that protects your interests and prevents issues down the line. With over 20 years of experience, our Tucson prenuptial agreement lawyers are proud to serve the families of Pima County. 

You can begin your conversation with our prenuptial & postnuptial agreement lawyers in Tucson by calling (520) 415-2970 or messaging us.

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