You’ve dreamed of finding the right person your entire life, and now you have. You and your partner are ready to start an incredible life together, and it all begins with a wonderful wedding day. Before you walk down the aisle, though, you’ll have a few choices to make. Yes, you’ll have to decide which caterer to use and who will be a bridesmaid, but you’ll also need to discuss whether you want to utilize a prenuptial agreement. Before you sign your marriage license, make sure you understand what a prenuptial agreement is, how it works, and whether one is right for your relationship. Here’s what you need to know.

First off, it’s important to understand exactly what a prenuptial agreement is and what it is not. This type of agreement is a legally binding document that is designed to protect your personal assets and belongings in the event of a divorce. While no one enters a marriage with the expectation of the relationship ending, it’s important to keep in mind that marriages end for a number of different reasons. Many of these are out of your control. People grow, circumstances change, and relationships adjust. A prenuptial agreement ensures that in the event of a divorce, you and your partner will leave with your personal assets, rather than dividing these equally after your separation.

If you’re thinking about creating a prenuptial agreement, you can start by meeting with an attorney. Your lawyer wants to help both you and your partner move forward. They’ll be able to advise you as to how a prenuptial agreement can benefit both of you. Your attorney can answer questions about the document and assist you in drafting a prenuptial agreement that works for you. Understand that even if you aren’t sure what you want to include in the prenuptial agreement, your attorney can provide guidance and assistance.

Some couples worry that a prenuptial agreement will damage their relationship. They’re afraid that if they choose to create a prenuptial agreement, it will cause a rift between them. Before you choose to create this document, sit down with your partner. Have an honest discussion about the benefits or drawbacks of creating a prenuptial agreement. If either one of you owns property, has family heirlooms, or owns a business, a prenuptial agreement can be especially beneficial. Should you divorce at some point in the future, this agreement ensures that you will each walk away with your personal assets that you brought into the relationship.

In addition to protecting your assets, a prenuptial agreement can discuss how you want to handle alimony, as well as the separation of debt. Once you are married, you and your partner may choose to utilize joint checking accounts or credit cards. If you separate, this will need to be divided and each person will be held liable for a certain portion of any debt. A prenuptial agreement can discuss this carefully.

Whether you have been dating for weeks, months, or years, make sure you have an honest discussion with your partner about creating a prenuptial agreement. Simply broaching the topic of a prenuptial agreement should not cause damage to your relationship. After all, if the two of you stay married, it will never come into play. If, however, you do choose to separate, it can provide protection and benefits for both of you.

It’s also important that you remember to meet with an attorney to draft up a legally-binding prenuptial agreement if you choose to utilize one. A verbal agreement will not be considered a legal agreement in the case of a divorce as there is no way to prove what was actually said or agreed upon. A family law practice attorney can help you and your partner carefully consider your wishes and desires going into your marriage and can assist you in creating the documents you need to move forward together.

You can schedule an initial consultation with a Phoenix prenuptial agreement lawyer today by calling (602) 461-7818 or by sending us a message through our online contact form.

Marriage / Divorce Affect My Business? | DeShon Laraye Pullen Guide

If you own a business – or plan to in the near future – it is important to know how your business interests may be impacted by marriage or divorce.

Arizona is a community property state. Businesses started during marriage are considered community property. Regardless of whether the business was started before or during marriage, increases in its value during marriage are considered community property.

This surprises many. It’s not uncommon for people to view their careers and home life as completely separate. Many professionals or skilled tradespersons have the dream of owning their own business but it doesn’t become a reality until a bit later in life. Marriage, kids and other big family events may precede business ownership.

We use a fictional character, Karen, as an example.

Karen is artistically gifted and good with people. As a young adult, she became a highly successful tattoo artist at one of Phoenix’s largest parlors. Although she was happy, she always dreamed of opening up her own shop someday. Wisely, she began saving money for her dream.

Karen met the love of her life – or so she thought – and they married. Her spouse had a steady job and made roughly the same income. They both lived within their means and rarely considered big purchases. They used most of their disposable income to travel the world.

Years later, Karen’s dream became a reality. The perfect business location became available and Karen had saved enough over the years to open her own upscale parlor. After a tough first year, her business became successful and Karen began making more money than she ever had before. She reinvested much of it into her business.

Despite great career success, her home life was not doing well and her marriage was irreparable. When Karen met with her divorce attorney, she was shocked to learn that her business was community property, or marital property. She now fears that her divorcing spouse will want to keep half the ownership interest in her business rather than letting her “buy out” his interest.

What could Karen have done to give her more control over her business?

She could have worked out a premarital contract, or prenuptial contract, with her partner before getting married. These agreements are soaring in popularity because they allow marrying people to have certainty about important things in live – such as a business – even if divorce occurs.

Hopefully, with the help of her divorce lawyer, Karen is able to reach a reasonable divorce agreement that allows her to move on with her life and career. If she marries again, she knows she will only do so with a premarital agreement in place that ensures she will retain exclusive ownership of her business.

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