Most people have heard of prenuptial agreements, but may have never considered a postnuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement deals with how the soon-to-be spouses will treat certain property, finances and investments. A postnuptial agreement may deal with terms and property division after the wedding has taken place.
Postnuptial agreements are a relatively recent development in comparison to prenuptial agreements. A husband and wife were historically considered to be a singular unit as a married couple and unable to contract with each other. In recent decades, however, as divorce became more common, postnuptial agreements became more widely accepted.
Postnuptial Agreement In Arizona
Postnuptial agreements are valid under Arizona state law, although no statutes specifically regulate postnuptial agreements, as they do prenuptial agreements.
A postnuptial agreement can have certain benefits for couples that they may not have considered prior to getting married. Most engaged couples are not considering the likelihood of divorce or separation. Once they enter into marriage and have been together for some time, however, they may realize that a separation may be in their future. Rather than wait until an actual divorce, a married couple may decide on some common ground that they can agree to in case of an eventual separation.
One of the more common uses for such an agreement involves consideration of a future separation or divorce. A husband and wife can make an agreement relating to spousal support, division of community property under the marriage, division of property each party had before marriage, and division of debt incurred during the marriage.
Another reason for entering into a postnuptial agreement is to settle an issue that came up during the marriage to avoid a later dispute over the issue or property. This can include separating the individual property of each spouse, including income, real estate and debt. It can also regulate actions between the spouses such as vacations, time with family or even household chores.
Enforcing A Postnuptial Agreement
The courts generally give broad deference to what private parties are able to do in contracts. There are limitations, however, especially when a contract or agreement overlaps with family law. A court may not enforce terms of a postnuptial agreement that would be illegal, even if both parties agree at the time of contracting. This is why it may be important to speak with your family lawyer and Arizona estate planning attorneys to ensure that the agreement you seek will be enforceable under the law.
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