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.

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