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The potential effects of a prenup

When couples living in Arizona contemplate divorce, asset division is often a primary concern. This concern can be heightened if the couple signed a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements describe the financial expectations established between spouses before or after a marriage takes place. In many cases, these agreements sharply restrict what a spouse may be expected to provide financially at the time of divorce, such as spousal support or a share in a family business or home.

While many spouses have good reason to believe that their divorces will be governed by their agreements, this is not always the case. The circumstances of how a prenuptial agreement is signed may be taken into consideration by judges and lawyers at the time of a divorce.

For example, if it can be shown that a spouse signed an agreement under duress or without assistance from his or her own lawyer, the agreement might not hold during the divorce. Unfortunately, there are cases in which someone agrees to prenuptial agreement terms without understanding the ramifications of its clauses.

Another example of how prenuptial agreements might go awry would be the case of a healthy spouse who expects to earn a good living during his or her career waiving the right to spousal support as part of the agreement. Doing this can be quite risky: Illness, disability or career disruption may make receiving support necessary after a marriage ends. An attorney might be able to point this out to a client and insist on a modification in the agreement that allows for spousal support under some circumstances.

Individuals who are considering divorce and who are concerned about the applicability of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement may benefit from speaking with an experienced family law attorney. The lawyer might review any agreements and make recommendations regarding issues such as child support, spousal support and property division.

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