Getting engaged and starting to discuss the plans for your wedding can be really exciting, but the romance of all that planning can come to a halt when one party suggests a pre-nuptial agreement or a meeting with an Arizona family lawyer. This is largely due to the fact that stereotypes and preconceptions about pre-nuptials gives them a bad reputation, when in reality they are excellent planning tools that can protect both parties well into the future.
How to Bring it Up
One of the most difficult aspects of putting together a pre-nuptial agreement is the process of bringing it up to your soon-to-be spouse. Since this is such a delicate matter, it is easy for the suggestion to be taken the wrong way. When used properly, these documents can help both parties plan ahead and have some protection into the future, but it also clarifies key issues and reduces the potential for arguments down the line.
Approach the issue by having a critical conversation about finances. Having both spouses on the same page about assets and debts entering the marriage is valuable, not just for the pre-nuptial agreement conversation, but also for clarity for both parties as well. Without a clear discussion, finances can become a serious issue for couples, serving as the basis for many arguments and, potentially, divorce.
It is important for both parties to understand their role in the marriage and how assets they already have factor into this new legal union. If you are entering the marriage with substantial assets, it is normal to want to have some protection for those assets. This does not mean that you are planning on divorcing, but rather that you are thinking ahead about your own financial future. Some couples might feel that assets brought into the marriage are separate and should be legally documented as such to avoid confusion, and there is nothing wrong with feeling this way.
Where Validity Plays a Role
A pre-nuptial agreement is not the “catch-all” for a list of requirements about what a spouse must do during a marriage. It’s also not the time for both parties to have the same lawyer. Both of these issues could lead to the agreement being ruled invalid down the line. With so many stereotypes about pre-nuptial agreements out there, many people are not fully clear on how they work and what can be included inside one.
In order to prevent these problems, each party should have an Arizona family lawyer at the table advising on the meaning of the stipulations inside the agreement. This attorney should be very familiar with what can and cannot be inside such an agreement. The peace of mind offered by such an agreement may be quickly dissolved if the agreement is ruled invalid, so it is critical to hire someone who can evaluate the document for you individually.
In summary, the pre-nuptial agreement may be widely misunderstood, but it is a crucial piece of a bigger conversation about finances and planning. Both are valuable to consider in a discussion between two people before marriage.
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Is a Pre-Nuptial Agreement Really Necessary?, or any other family law issue, please feel free to contact Steven H. Everts at 480.461.5300, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.