If your significant other asks for a prenuptial agreement, you might be confused. It may even make you angry. Part of this comes from letting movies and pop culture define prenup as something underhanded. It creates misunderstandings that may not reflect reality.
A Tool the Law Shapes and Defines
It is important to understand how the laws in Arizona define prenup agreements and shape what they can be. A prenup can be a tool that puts you both at ease as you begin your life together. A prenup also encourages you to look at finances in a way that can strengthen your relationship. Far from a sign of trouble, it can give you more solid footing going into your marriage.
What Does It Describe?
A prenuptial agreement describes which property and assets are part of your community property in a marriage. Because Arizona is a community property state, what you gain during the marriage gets designated by law as shared assets. Some of this can be tricky to determine during a divorce, though. A prenup helps you sort it out before you ever need to worry about it.
Importantly, you should not define prenup agreements as simply keeping assets from the other spouse. If one of you owns a business, real estate, or other property before the marriage, you can choose to include or exclude it. The prenup is not about creating barriers for your spouse. Instead, it gives an accounting that helps you both have certainty in your financial lives.
What Does It Cover?
A prenup can include assets and property. It also can include money you owe before you marry. You cannot use it for any illegal activities or illegally gained property. You also cannot use a prenup to define any child custody or child support obligations. It applies strictly to what you have before you get married.
For example, you might own a business before you get married. In getting the business running, you may have borrowed for equipment, real estate, and inventory build-up. You may choose to separate from your marital estate the value of the business, the debt associated with it, or both. The prenup defines your separation of these assets and liabilities from the marital estate.
Further, it may be possible to exclude business appreciation during the marriage from the prenup. In this way, a prenup may override laws that might otherwise consider it community property.
Why You Might Want a Prenup
For some, a prenup defines assets in a way that gives you both clarity. You may not want to start a marriage without defining the finances. It can even help you avoid fights later about what you have or what belongs to whom. Instead of putting a strain on your marriage, it can help relieve worry about what your full financial picture entails.
Further, while no one goes into a marriage thinking about divorce, a prenup can help down the road. Entering into these very deep, very personal conversations before the marriage can be beneficial in the long-run. It can open up communication between the two of you which may lead to healthy communication throughout the marriage.
Because a prenup is a legal document, you need to make sure it is created properly. Do-it-yourself options tend to broadly meet requirements but seldom help you with your unique situation. You need an attorney to make sure it meets your specific needs. If you are interested in creating a prenup, contact us at Ogborne Law to learn more.
Engaging with an attorney to protect your family is never an easy step. Whether you need to protect your family from the unthinkable or restructure your family through collaborative divorce, we’re here to help. When you’re ready to schedule a consultation with Michelle Ogborne, please visit the scheduling page to get started.