Prenuptial agreements are an effective way to settle property and asset disputes before they ever arise. Unfortunately, many people do not understand what a prenuptial agreement is, leading to a negative perception about them. While prenuptial or antenuptial agreements may lack romanticism, they are comparable to insurance. They are there to provide some certainty when the unforeseeable happens.
The Wall Street Journal recently featured an article on how to keep your inheritance in a divorce. The article examined what is commonly covered in prenuptial agreements and the percentage of antenuptial agreements they appear in:
- Protection of separate (non-marital) property, 80 percent
- Alimony/spousal maintenance, 77 percent
- Division of property upon divorce, 72 percent
- Protection of the increase of value in non-marital property, 62 percent
- Inheritance rights, 39 percent
- Community property division, 23 percent
Years ago, prenuptial agreements were often used in situations where a party has a present or future interest in a family business or inheritance. While that is still an excellent reason for an antenuptial agreement, many people who are getting married for their second or third time see the value of prenuptial contracts.
If you are interested in a prenuptial agreement you should find an experienced family law attorney because it must be created carefully. If an antenuptial contract is vague or ambiguous about an asset, Arizona courts may choose to regard it as marital property. Also, circumstances concerning the creation of the prenuptial agreement, such as whether both parties had their own attorneys, may dictate its enforceability.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, “How to keep your inheritance in a divorce,” Neil Parmar, Nov. 9, 2014