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Prenuptual Agreements

Arizona is a community property state.  For a married couple, nearly all assets and income acquired by either spouse becomes jointly owned by both spouses at the time it is acquired.  This is true even for property that is titled such as real estate or vehicles.  Some assets acquired by a spouse during the marriage would be separate property – gifts and inheritances to one spouse usually are the separate property of a spouse.  Compensation for injuries to a spouse are usually separate property. 

It is possible to opt out of the community property rules with a properly drafted and executed prenuptuial agreement (also called antenuptial agreements).  Couples have the right and the ability to determine between themselves how they would like to divide assets and debt if the marriage is ever dissolved.  However, it is not possible to have a binding agreement about what child support should be in the event of a divorce, nor is it possible to have a binding agreement about parenting time and/or legal decision-making in the event of divorce. 

To be enforceable, a prenuptuial agreement must be the result of a fair negotiation between the prospective spouses, must not be the product of duress or coercion, and it must satisfy the other requirements of Arizona law. To satisfy the requirements for an enforceable prenuptial agreement requires planning ahead of time.  It is strongly advised that both parties have their own lawyer representing them in the negotiation and execution of a pre-nuptuial agreement.