Prior to getting married, prospective spouses can enter a pre-nuptial agreement (also known as pre-marital agreement). The agreement can address numerous items such as who will own property acquired both prior to and during a marriage, who will be responsible for debts accumulated during a marriage, and whether a party will be responsible for spousal maintenance (also known as alimony) in the event of a divorce. The parties can agree to opt-out of Arizona’s community property law and can agree there will be no spousal maintenance or a specific amount of maintenance upon divorce. Such an agreement is not required to meet the court standard of fair and equitable. In fact, it can be unfair and unreasonable. The agreement must, however, disclose all known assets and debts of the parties before marriage and both parties must have an opportunity to thoroughly review and seek legal advice regarding how the agreement affects their rights. The agreement can be created and signed only days prior to a marriage if the above factors are met.
A pre-nuptial agreement cannot identify who will care for children born during the marriage or how much child support will be paid because such orders must always meet the court’s review of the best interests of the children at the time of the divorce.
Arizona has specific laws regarding the enforcement of a pre-nuptial agreement in the event of a dissolution.
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