What Is A Prenuptial Agreement in Arizona?
Marriage is both a joyous and stressful time in someone’s life. Just because you are in love today, doesn’t mean that love will last ten years from now. That is why the prenuptial agreement was created. To protect the parties entering a marriage and assets prior to the marriage.
Drafting the Prenuptial Agreement
The entire section of the Arizona Revised Statutes that handle prenuptial agreements is 25-201 through 25-205. These outline the laws regarding the Arizona Uniform Premarital Agreement Act.
A.R.S. § 25-201: Definitions
This section covers the definitions of premarital agreement and property as used in the statutes.
- The premarital agreement means an agreement that is made between prospective spouses that are made in anticipation of marriage and will become effective once the marriage happens.
- Property is an interest that is in the present or future, legal or equitable, contingent or vested, in real or personal property, which includes income and earnings.
A.R.S. § 25-202: Enforcement of premarital agreements and exception
In this section, it defines that the premarital agreement must be in writing with signatures of both parties involved. Once it is signed, it is enforceable without further consideration once the marriage has taken place.
The premarital agreement will not be considered enforceable under these circumstances:
- The person did not voluntarily sign the agreement
- The agreement was not reasonable when it was signed and before it was signed the person:
- Was not aware of the financial obligations of the other party and they were not provided fair or reasonable disclosure
- Did not voluntarily waive the right for the disclosure in writing
- Did not and could not have had a reasonable knowledge of the said property or financial obligations of the other party
- If the agreement modifies or eliminates spousal support and it causes the other person to be eligible for support under public assistance at the time of the dissolution or separation, despite the terms of the agreement a judge may order spousal support to avoid eligibility
- If the question of the agreement being reasonable is an issue, it will be decided in a court
- If the marriage is considered null, then so is the agreement and is only enforceable on the terms of community properties
A.R.S. § 25-203: Scope of the agreement
A premarital contract cannot possibly cover all the issues that a married couple could encounter, however, there are things that the law has defined as being acceptable to be included:
- How the property is handled in a separation, dissolution, or death
- Modification and/or elimination of spousal support
- Probate issues
- Any other issues that do not violate public policy or impose criminal penalties
The premarital agreement is not the same as a custody agreement and there cannot be any provisions included as such.
A.R.S. § 25-204: Amending or revoking the agreement
A marital agreement can be amended or revoked entirely after the marriage occurs with the written agreement and signatures of both parties. Once this is done, this new record will be enforceable without any other considerations, like the original.
A.R.S. § 25-205: Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is applicable to an action that asserts a claim for relief under the agreement. Equitable defenses are limited in time for enforcement and can be denied if a claim is not submitted in a timely manner. This applies to either party.
The best choice when making a prenuptial agreement with a spouse is to sit down and decide what is true and fair for both parties. In the event of dissolution or death, neither party wants to leave the other in a situation they cannot come out of. A lawyer practicing family law can help accommodate the needs of anyone seeking to create a prenuptial agreement in the state of Arizona.
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