Divorce Without a Prenuptial Agreement in Phoenix, Arizona
Cohen Family Law regularly prepares prenuptial agreements for couples about to be married. No one goes into a marriage intending to divorce, but marital breakups are not uncommon. While discussing a prenuptial agreement can be discomforting, it is wise to clarify and protect your property rights before the caterer is paid. Without a prenuptial agreement, the court may intervene to divide your marital assets in a divorce.
Our practice is dedicated to helping couples make informed decisions before they get married, and helping them navigate family transitions when divorce becomes inevitable. Given that marriage is both an emotional and financial partnership, it is best to determine whether you can benefit from a prenup and understand what happens without one.
When you consult with us, we will walk you through the process of creating a well-conceived prenuptial agreement that protects your rights in a way that is fair and equitable to both parties. Contact our Phoenix office today so we can start working on your prenuptial agreement.
The Benefits of a Prenuptial Agreement in Arizona
Creating a prenuptial agreement gives you an opportunity to work through the legal and financial aspects of marriage before you tie the knot and bind your finances. In short, a properly structured prenuptial agreement can protect both your property rights and financial future in the event of divorce.
In doing so, you can avoid future conflicts between you and your spouse, clarify spousal support and asset division, and protect each party from the other spouse’s current or future debts. To be valid, the agreement must be (1) executed before an attorney or notary and (2) approved by the court.
Not everyone in Arizona needs a prenuptial agreement, but those who can benefit from a prenup include:
- High wage earners
- Those who have significant assets or expect to gain from investments or an inheritance
- Individuals who own a business or professional practice
- Spouses who have children from a previous marriage
Regardless of your circumstances, trust Cohen Family Law to design a prenuptial agreement that best suits your needs.
Divorce Without a Prenuptial Agreement
While discussing a prenuptial agreement can make for some difficult moments, better to clear the air now than to fight it out in court if your marriage doesn’t go the distance. Creating a prenup is not about planning to fail, it’s about protecting your interests and being prepared: financial challenges, personal changes, and other life events can weaken even the strongest marital bond.
If you divorce with a prenup in place, you must reach an agreement about dividing the marital assets; otherwise, the court will decide for you. In any event, it is necessary to determine:
- Whether property (and debt) is separate or marital property
- The value of the marital property
- How the property will be divided
Because Arizona is a community property state, any property acquired during the marriage belongs to both spouses. This does not mean that the property division will be an equal 50-50 split, but rather one that is fair to both parties so that each walks away with about half of the marital estate.
Alternatives to Prenuptial Agreements
While prenuptial agreements are a reliable way to protect your assets in a divorce, there are some ways to protect certain assets if you don’t have one:
- Create a postnuptial agreement — After you’re already married, events such as purchasing real estate, starting a business, earning an advanced degree or accumulating wealth may require creating a postnuptial or post-marital agreement, which achieves the same objectives as a prenup.
- Don’t Commingle Fund or Combine Real Estate — Sharing accounts and expenses may make life easier, but commingling once separate funds can convert them into marital property. Similarly, using separate funds to maintain real estate, such as paying the mortgage, or adding a spouse to the deed for your home, means that you might lose half its value if you divorce.
Although a prenuptial agreement sets everything out much more clearly, taking these simple steps can also help to protect your property rights. Ultimately, the best way to protect your interests before you get married or in the event of divorce is to consult with Cohen Family Law.
By working with our experienced attorneys, you will have peace of mind knowing that your property rights will be protected. Lead attorney Mitchell E. Cohen leverages his experience as a family law mediator to guide clients through all aspects of planning and preparing a prenup.
At Cohen Family Law, we provide clients with a comfortable environment in which they can make the best decisions for their marriage and their future. Whether you need help creating a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement or you are already facing a marital break-up, our team will provide you with trustworthy advice when you need it most. Contact our office today for a consultation.