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When is a Prenuptial Agreement Necessary?

There is perhaps nothing more unromantic than the issue of a prenuptial agreement cropping up when planning a wedding. However, what most people don’t realize is that a marriage is much more than an emotional commitment of two people to each other; it is a legal contract that significantly changes the status of both spouses, including finances. When they say for richer or for poorer, they were stating a literal fact. According to the website of Marshall & Taylor, P.C., a prenuptial agreement is a contract which is designed to formally and legally establish boundaries in the financial commingling of a married couple which can significantly simplify property division if the couple decides to dissolve the marital tie. Statistically half of all marriages end up in divorce so a prenuptial agreement or prenup is just as practical as taking out car insurance. You don’t get into a car expecting to get into accident just as you (usually) don’t get married expecting to get divorce., once you tie the knot with your spouse, your finances become intermingled from then on.

However, unlike driving a car, you are not required to get a prenup to get married, and unlike car insurance, it is not right for every couple. In Phoenix, which is part of one of nine states that apply the community property law in divorce, anything acquired during the marriage is divided more or less equally between spouses. As such, a prenup may become an extremely important document if one of the spouses:

  • Is much wealthier
  • Has a business
  • Stands to inherit a substantial amount in the future
  • Is about to embark on a lucrative career i.e. lawyer
  • Has children from a previous marriage or elderly relations to take care of

It is not enough for the spouses to shake hands on it; a prenuptial agreement must be properly drawn up, preferably by a divorce lawyer, and duly notarized. Before signing a prenup, make sure that you consult your own lawyer to make sure that it is legal and fair. Some prenups stipulate conditions that can render the agreement invalid, such as the spouse can only gain so much weight to be entitled to property.

Deciding on Child Custody

Child custody is one of the most important things that need consideration when a married couple that has children goes through a divorce. While there are certain differences in state laws regarding the granting of child custody, most are generally the same or similar. Many states and courts will attempt to grant joint custody; however, in certain situations, this is not possible, leading to one parent or even another relative, such as a grandparent or uncle, having custody.

The child’s best interest – one of the most important factors that courts consider, custody is often given to the person who can provide the best mental and physical care for the child, which includes providing proper and healthy living conditions for the child., if the parents can reach an agreement on visitation, custody, and child support, then this issue will not need to be taken to court and can be resolved in a more efficient manner. However, as both a complex and contentious issue, many people seek legal support in order to better understand the process and agreements, not to mention protect their interests. In this situation, a child custody issue may be taken to court, where the following will likely be considered:

  • Child’s preference – it may vary from state to state, but courts sometimes take into consideration the child’s preference after they are of a certain age. However, age may not always be the only basis, as maturity of the child is also considered.
  • Change of address – if the custodial parent changes residence (such as moving to another state), it may hinder the visitation rights of the other parent. The noncustodial parent can then legally apply for guardianship of the child.
  • Parent’s agreements – parent’s agreements can have a huge impact on how child custody shall be granted. Provided it does not go against the best interest of the child, these agreements can have a say on how visitation, child support, and even change of custody.

Child custody decisions can be one of the most emotional parts of having a divorce. However, it is an issue that must be settled. Thus, understanding how courts will make this decision, should your custody agreement need to be taken to court, is important to successfully completing the process. An attorney’s knowledge on these matters can help you demonstrate what you need to in order to achieve the outcome you’re hoping for.