Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements have become far more common in recent years, and this is especially true in states like Arizona that require judges to divide marital property equally in divorce cases. These agreements allow couples to decide for themselves how their assets and debts will be divided if they choose to divorce, and they can also be used to list separate property that should not be divided and set the parameters for spousal support.
Common among the previously married
Many of the people who sign prenuptial agreements do so because they went through the divorce process when their previous marriages ended. The provisions of a prenuptial agreement can ensure that children from a previous marriage are taken care of, and they can also prevent long, expensive and public court battles. While often seen as a kind of insurance policy for the uncertain, researchers have found that prenuptial agreements can actually strengthen a marriage by removing doubts and providing peace of mind.
Entrepreneurs sometimes sign prenuptial agreements to calm the fears of their business partners or to reassure investors. This is because states with community property laws require business assets to be divided equally in a divorce, which may not be an ideal situation when one of the spouses involved played no role in the day-to-day running of the company in question.
Judges may refuse to enforce prenuptial agreements that are unfair or were entered into under duress, which is why these contracts should be drafted carefully. Experienced family law attorneys could encourage clients who are considering a prenuptial agreement to negotiate in good faith and consult with a lawyer before signing legal documents, and they may also advise them to revisit these agreements periodically to ensure that they still reflect their wishes.