Centuori & Associates, PC

Prenuptial agreements are growing in popularity in Arizona and across the nation as people seek to protect their existing assets and personal property. While these legal contracts are often favored by older couples who may have been married before and have a good deal of private property, they are still sometimes frowned upon by younger couples who are just beginning the marriage process and may be more focused on their wedding plans than working out the details of their future finances. However, younger couples may be able to benefit the most from these preplanned arrangements.

People mistakenly believe that prenuptial agreements only come into play in the event of a divorce. However, taking the time to discuss how finances will be addressed before the marriage can alleviate problems after the honeymoon. Examples of prenuptial details include deciding if the spouses will maintain separate checking accounts or ask permission from each other before making purchases. Another prenuptial consideration is deciding how each spouse's salary will be used. The agreement may also outline how money in a checking account will be divided in the event of a separation.

Factors that prenuptial agreements do not typically address are child custody and alimony. While couples may want to have some details regarding maintenance in the prenuptial agreement, states may disregard prenuptial terms when they are in conflict with state laws.

Before agreeing to any prenuptial contract, each spouse may wish to have the information reviewed by an independent attorney. One lawyer cannot represent both parties, as this could create a conflict of interest. If one partner has more assets than the other, the prenuptial will likely be geared toward putting safeguards in place to maintain those assets. The partner with fewer assets may also want to have safeguards to protect their interests during the marriage and in case of divorce.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Prenuptial Agreements: The Ultimate Symbol of Love?", Justine Borer, August 22, 2014

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