Financial planning to protect your separate and marital assets can be made both before you enter into marriage and after. Pre-marital agreements set forth plans for both of you to protect those assets you each have prior to saying “I do,” by defining how and whether you want to maintain those assets as sole and separate from the marriage, or whether you plan to put them into the marital pot and consider them the joint, community property of yourself and your spouse. All in the event of a divorce or legal separation when assets and liabilities are divided between the two spouses and identification of an asset or liability as the sole responsibility of one spouse becomes an important consideration.
Post-marital agreements are signed contracts between yourself and your spouse, setting forth which assets you both consider and intend to be considered as sole and separate property, not to be considered or treated as joint, community, or marital assets. Again, these contracts are generally made to protect assets in the event of a divorce or legal separation.
Under the Arizona Uniform Pre-marital Act, a premarital agreement may determine each spouse’s rights and obligations with regard to marital property or separate property, disposition of property upon separation, divorce, or death, and spousal support. In order to be considered valid in the State of Arizona, a premarital agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties. The agreement does not become effective until the marriage ceremony takes place. To create a valid premarital agreement, both parties must enter the agreement voluntarily and free of duress or coercion, both parties must provide full and fair disclosure of their financial status, and the terms of the agreement must not be unconscionable.
In the event of a divorce or legal separation, where a pre-marital agreement is raised to challenge ownership of an asset, the Arizona courts analyze whether or not the parties were each represented by independent attorneys, whether each party was given sufficient time to review the agreement and to fully understand the terms of the agreement, whether there was any apparent duress or coercion exercised on either party either directly or as a result of the circumstances surrounding the signing of the Agreement, and whether there was full and fair disclosure of assets by each of the parties. In addition, although spousal support can be waived by both parties in a premarital agreement, the Arizona courts are permitted to essentially ignore this provision if denying or limiting spousal support would leave a spouse eligible for and/or dependent upon public assistance.
By seeking assistance from highly experienced Tucson divorce attorneys, you can create a pre-marital or post-marital agreement which best suits your specific needs and situation. In the event of a divorce or legal separation, our attorneys can guide you in seeking to either enforce or refute the agreement at issue.