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DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC Board certified Family Law Specialist*

Arizona divorce: More couples signing postnuptial agreements

We often hear about contracts signed between two people preparing to get married in Arizona. Called prenuptial agreements, these contracts envision what is to happen in the event the parties later decide to divorce. And with some estimates indicating that just about half of all marriages end in divorce, the notion of a prenuptial agreement has become more commonplace in our society.

But what about the Arizona couple that marries without a prenuptial agreement? Absent an agreement, any subsequent divorce would be decided based upon our state laws. However, another type of agreement is now gaining recognition. Called a postnuptial agreement, it is a legally binding contract between two individuals who have already married. In most instances, those agreements contemplate the same or similar issues that might have been the subject of a prenuptial agreement.

One man suggested that such an agreement was a form of insurance. He suggested that people who go for a boat ride don't expect to have an accident, but they usually wear a lifejacket. A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is essentially a lifejacket for the marriage. These forms of agreement generally cover property and asset division and even spousal maintenance and child support issues. Custody and care of the family pet is another common topic.

Virtually no one gets married with the intention of subsequently seeking a divorce. Nevertheless, the simple fact is that many marriages do not last forever. Those Arizona residents who recognize this fact may gain by investigating their rights and responsibilities under our state law. A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement might be just what the doctor ordered to provide a sense of security in case forever after does not last as long as originally intended.

Source: KABC-TV Los Angeles, "Postnuptial agreements becoming more common, signed after couples get married," Ric Romero, Aug. 29, 2012

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