A prenuptial agreement is a way for a couple to customize property division and other marriage laws in their state. It allows them to determine which assets will be considered marital property and what will be exempt in the event of a divorce. It may also include language related to who gets alimony and under what circumstances. However, the agreement means nothing if it isn’t constructed properly.
How Soon Should the Agreement Be Reached?
It is important to make a prenuptial agreement at least six months before the wedding. At the very least, it should be completed with enough time for each party to have it reviewed by independent counsel. A family lawyer Arizona may be able to ensure that the document has been prepared properly and that it doesn’t include any terms that may be stricken down by a judge. If a prenuptial agreement is finalized too close to the wedding date, it may increase the odds of one side challenging it by claiming that it was agreed to under duress.
Can a Prenuptial Agreement Be Altered After a Wedding?
In many cases, the terms of a prenuptial agreement can be changed if both parties agree to do so. For instance, if a husband or wife receives funds from a personal injury settlement or an unexpected inheritance, it may be possible to include it somehow within the existing agreement. It may be necessary to renegotiate a prenuptial agreement if a judge declares some or all of it invalid in a divorce proceeding.
What Can Be Included in a Prenuptial Agreement?
Almost anything can be included in such an agreement provided that both sides agree to it. For instance, you could stipulate how often you would like to be intimate with your partner or how many pets the household will have. However, it is important to understand that the more specific or outlandish terms in an agreement may not actually be enforceable by law in your state.
Can Child Custody Be Part of a Prenuptial Agreement?
As a general rule, child custody issues cannot be included in a prenuptial agreement. However, parents may be able to create a plan on their own that determines who gets custody and how much will be paid in child support. The reason why a prenuptial agreement cannot deal with child custody issues is that each state has specific protocols that must be followed to ensure the best interests of the child have been met. Parents who made a prenuptial agreement before getting divorced will likely still have to work with a child custody lawyer to work out a custody agreement.
How Can I Challenge a Prenuptial Agreement?
If you want to challenge some or all of a prenuptial agreement, you should talk to your family law attorney as soon as possible. It may also be possible to raise objections on your own to the judge overseeing your case. Alternatively, you could raise objections to a mediator if you and your spouse choose to resolve marital issues in front of a neutral third-party.
If you are looking for more control over how your assets are divided or protected in a divorce, a prenuptial agreement may be the best way to do so. While such an agreement may be reached without the help of an attorney, it may be best to have one review it before it is signed and entered into the public record. This may reduce the odds that you agree to something that is not in your best interest.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Hildebrand Law for their insight into prenuptial agreements and family law practice.