Written by Canterbury Law Group

How Prenuptial Agreements Work

Are you about to get married? Maybe you had a simple wedding in mind that has now grown into a huge wedding as if it had a life of its own! However, the financial side of a marriage often needs even more careful planning as it can become complicated.

Growing commitment and love are hallmarks of the period of time before a wedding. Most engaged couples think their marriage will last forever and do not want to consider the fact it may end in unhappiness. Yet with around 40 percent of marriages ending in divorce, it raises issues like:

  • How do you want your debts, property, and assets handled in the event of a death or a divorce?
  • Should one of the spouses receive alimony from the other?

In light of this and other issues, some couples are now considering a prenuptial agreement as the best way to prepare for any eventuality that may beset the marriage after the romance fades.

A prenuptial agreement is a private contract that two parties enter into to settle matters of finance in advance, should one spouse die or divorce. It is also known as a premarital agreement, a marriage contract, a prenup or an antenuptial agreement. It is not romantic but many experts in the financial field say it is a very smart idea. It takes your financial matters out of the hands of the state. However, you should have a serious and frank discussion with your romantic partner before you enter into such an agreement. Read on to discover the points you will need to address.

Is a Prenup Needed?

Some think only wealthy people require a prenuptial arrangement. In reality, a prenup should be considered by anyone who has liabilities, properties or personal assets. A prenup not only clarifies the financial responsibilities and rights for each party involved in the marriage but also addresses the distribution of property in an instance of death or divorce. They can also protect spouses from the debts each of them has previously accrued. They can address how property rights will be shared out with children from a previous marriage as well as determine if one partner can receive alimony. However, a prenup cannot cover any activities or actions that are illegal or that contradicts public policy. For example, child custody rights for a child yet to be born cannot be part of the contract. Usually, it is advised the prenup should only cover financial matters not issues like child-care responsibilities and household responsibilities.

It is normal for a time element to be part of a prenuptial contract. Most start on the wedding day and last for an indefinite amount of time. However, some are written to take effect once a certain number of years have passed. Others may state they end once the couple has been married for a certain length of time. This is another reason a prenuptial contract should be fully discussed with your partner well before the date of the wedding, so both parties can understand it fully and mutually craft a fair agreement.

If you are thinking about a prenup, you are going to have to be very honest regarding the state of your finances. An agreement can be invalid if one party hides something from the other party. Below is a checklist of important subjects to cover.

  • Draw up a list of all property, liabilities, and assets and their approximate market values.
  • The identification of important issues.
  • Stating your goals.
  • Honesty in prenup discussions.

You are ready to make preparations for the prenup once you have discussed the above subjects. To some degree, the preparation of a prenup is similar to the writing of your own wedding vows.

Prenuptial Agreements Costs and Legalities

Some people want to write their own prenuptial contract. Certainly, it is the least expensive method but if you do not know what you are doing it may lead to financial ruin down the road. It is often recommended that each party gets a separate attorney to handle the contract drafting. The attorneys you hire should practice family or matrimonial law. They will have knowledge of prenuptial contracts as well as knowing the laws of the state you will reside in once you are married. The attorneys work together to write the document with the best interests of each client in their mind. This can assure a prenup that is fair to both parties and helps it to be enforceable and valid in a court, should the prenup have to be invoked in a subsequent divorce.

Throughout the United States, prenuptial contracts are considered legally binding. Andif you reside in a community property state, assets that are obtained during the duration of the marriage are considered to be owned jointly. When a marriage ends, they are required to be distributed equally.

A prenuptial contract must meet the following requirements for it to be considered as enforceable and valid:

  • Not opposing public policy or be illegal.
  • Contains full financial disclosure and details.
  • Be in writing and signed.
  • Undertaken voluntarily by both parties.
  • The agreement is notarized.
  • The prenup is fair to both parties.
  • The prenup is completed before the marriage ceremony.

A judge retains the power to invalidate the agreement is it fails to meet one or more of these criteria.

Source: Franson, Margaret. “How Prenuptial Agreements Work.” HowStuffWorks, HowStuffWorks, 21 July 2008, money.howstuffworks.com/personal-finance/financial-planning/prenuptial-agreements.htm.

Contact Our Prenuptial Agreement Lawyers in Scottsdale

Consulting with a talented Scottsdale prenuptial agreement lawyer or family law attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in drafting and litigating premarital agreements will save you a great deal of grief and expense in the future. Contact Canterbury Law Group today.

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

Written by Canterbury Law Group

What You Need to Know About Prenups and Postnups

When it comes to dealing with marital finances, people generally think about two types of spousal contracts: a prenuptial agreement entered into before a marriage and a postnuptial agreement entered into after a marriage.

Sure, most readers have at least heard of a prenuptial (also known as a “prenup” or an antenuptial agreement). Prenups are used to clarify how certain assets and liabilities will be distributed if the marriage were to end in a divorce or a death. While this may seem less-than-romantic, it is actually an important step in marriage for many persons.

A prenuptial agreement can also determine what support from a spouse will look like after a divorce. A prenup is generally used to protect and preserve assets that one person brings into a marriage, however, it can also be used to protect a spouse against the debt of the other. Lastly, prenups can be used to protect the inheritance of children from a previous marriage so that the biological wealth is assured to pass to the biological children from prior marriages.

As you consider filling out a prenuptial agreement, divorce attorneys in Scottsdale recommend that you follow a few important steps. For one, you want to make sure that both parties honestly and completely disclose all assets and liabilities. This disclosure should be overinclusive in the document. In addition, each party should have ample time to read and review the document (with an attorney for each partner) before signing. A prenuptial agreement should be signed by both parties without any fraud or coercion.  Do not under any circumstances sign a prenuptial agreement on the eve of your wedding.  Plan far in advance to give both sides several months to complete the process.

Having said all of this, one significant question remains: what if you didn’t sign a prenup before marriage?

Perhaps your marriage is on the rocks or maybe you just want to protect certain assets that are not secured in writing.  Enter the postnuptial agreement.

These are many reasons why couples decide to form a postnuptial agreement, which is a legal document designed for couples who are already married or in a civil union who wish to contractually change their futures.

Similar to a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement establishes by contract how a couple’s assets will be divided in the unfortunate event of a divorce, legal separation or death. Furthermore, it establishes any amount of spousal support that one party will pay to the other if the marriage were to end.

If you’re already engaged or on the verge of marriage, consider signing a prenuptial agreement before exchanging vows if you have significant assets or liabilities.   Even if you are currently married without a prenup, it’s never too late. You can sign a postnuptial agreement that will set a lot of things in stone. Trust us when we tell you that you won’t regret it.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Prenups are in Higher Demand Among Millennials

Millennials are a lot more likely than their parents to require a prenuptial agreement prior to walking down the aisle. This generation also has fewer qualms about getting a prenuptial than their parents’ generation, according to the latest survey data from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (“AAML”). The AAML found that more than half of attorneys polled recently said that more millennials have requested prenuptial agreements. Only a small 2 percent of lawyers said that they had seen a decrease in millennial prenups.

A Rising Trend

Unlike their baby boom parents, millennials are less likely to view marriage through rose-colored glasses. Millenials are getting married later in life on average compared to their parents. Not only are millennial soon-to-be-married couples older, they have also had time to accumulate significant assets that they will not want to lose in case of a subsequent divorce.

Interestingly enough, it’s the millennial women who are driving the rising trend among would-be spouses demanding prenups. In the past, a prenup involved an often-wealthy groom asking the bride-to-be to sign an agreement. Prenups were more common among families with money, but now individual wealth can be the deciding factor.  This is particularly true in technology and startup companies where one spouse-to-be has accumulated significant stock and stock options prior to marriage.

What Millennials Want to Protect with Prenups

It was the norm for prenups to once protect inherited wealth. Not anymore, at least not significantly with the millennial generation. What millennials want to protect the most with a prenup is intellectual property, according to Bloomberg. Rather than protecting the family farm against a divorce, millennial spouses want to protect software, apps, songs, films, or screenplays. Interestingly, most of these assets are not even in existence when the couple gets married. What millennials really want is to protect future assets, especially creative ideas, from divorce proceedings.

Millennials included in the AAML survey responded that the most common reason for getting a prenup is the “protection of separate property.” The other two factors that mattered the most were spousal support or alimony and the division of property.

After intellectual property, millennial couples also increasingly include real estate holdings in the agreements. The “millennial prenups” are rather new. However, millennials can specifically request a prenup agreement that includes potential assets from a divorce attorney in Scottsdale.

Taking Stigma Away from Prenups

As millennials start requesting more prenups from their partners, the stigma surrounding such agreements could soon largely disappear. It used to be that couples didn’t want to discuss assets before getting hitched. It’s possible that millennials are learning from the mistakes of their parents, who were more likely to divorce than their own parents. Perhaps getting married later in life makes couples cognizant that not all marriages last a lifetime, but sometimes only a decade, or less.  Moreover, for couples who do not have children, the property disposition during a divorce can be even more important.

However, millennials do not need to worry about divorces like their parents did. The divorce rates are actually in decline nationally. It’s definitely a sign of changing times, or rather, being aware of the facts when getting married.

Many experts do agree that prenuptial agreements in general can be healthy for couples getting married. These agreements can protect individuals against acrimonious and expensive divorce proceedings later in life.  It set’s the couple’s mutual expectations early in the marriage, and no illusions are in place about what happens years later in the event of divorce.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Growing Trend of Prenups in 2017

The family law attorneys at Canterbury Law Group suggest soon-to-be married couples hire counsel and obtain a prenuptial agreement before saying “I Do.” Prenups are actually very common amongst all ages and classes of Americans, and they are set to increase in popularity even more through 2017.

Prenuptial agreements are a smart investment as they can provide important advantages for both spouses. Thanks partially to the drama in Hollywood, many people think negatively when they hear the term “prenuptial agreement.” However, this is not always an accurate portrayal. In fact, prenups are used by both parties in a marriage to plan for the future and arrange things legally that can be mutually beneficial to both spouses. Whether you have a business, inheritance or children to protect, a prenup is the best bet.

If you may be interested in getting a prenup, here are expert tips from our law team:

Do not wait until the last minute – Begin the prenuptial agreement process six months to one year before your actual wedding date to ensure that both parties have ample time to review it and to retain separate legal counsel. Last-minute contracts are much harder to enforce later. It may also make your soon-to-be spouse nervous if you wait too long to discuss these options.

Do not let your emotions lead. The emotions of falling in love can alter reality, so be sure to work with trusted legal advisers on the agreement. You must protect yourself and your future from possible hardships.

Make your prenuptial agreement realistic and legal. The goal is to have a contract that is enforceable and provide each spouse with an understanding of what they will get if the marriage ends. A good legal team will help you understand all aspects and options.

Research your state’s law regarding marriage and property. Marriage property laws are different from state to state. Canterbury Law Group can help you understand the laws in Arizona, Nevada and California for prenuptial agreements.

If you need prenuptial agreement help in Scottsdale, Contact Canterbury Law Group today to schedule a consultation. We can help you secure your future.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Prenups in Scottsdale

Prenuptial agreements are very common amongst all ages and classes of Americans, as they can provide important advantages for both partners in a proposed marriage. Many people have an instinctively negative reaction when they hear the term “prenuptial agreement.” However, this is not reality. In fact, prenups are often used to plan for future affairs and arrange things legally in ways that are mutually beneficial to both spouses.

The attorneys at Canterbury Law Group typically suggest prenups for people in their 30s or older with any substantial assets, children or a former spouse. Prenuptial agreements are particularly useful for people who are entering into a second marriage. In the case of remarriage, one or both spouses may already have significant assets, and may want to arrange that blood related family members from the first marriage inherit property and assets in the event of divorce or death after the second marriage.

The family law attorneys at Canterbury Law Group work diligently to provide prenuptial agreement advice in Scottsdale. If you’re considering a prenup, here are four tips from our legal experts:

  • Plan ahead. Begin the prenuptial agreement process six months to one year before your wedding dates to ensure that both parties have ample time to review it. Last-minute contracts are harder to enforce.
  • Eliminate your emotions. The emotions of falling in love can alter reality, so be sure to work with trusted advisers on this legally binding agreement.
  • Make your agreement realistic and legal. The goal is to have a contract that is enforceable and provide each spouse with an understanding of what they will get if the marriage ends.
  • Research your state’s law regarding marriage and property. Marriage property laws are different from state to state. Ideally, you have a licensed attorney handle the entire process from start to finish so you can focus on the exciting wedding to come.

If you need prenuptial agreement help in Scottsdale, Arizona, then contact Canterbury Law Group today to schedule a consultation. 480-240-0040.