Arizona is a community property state, and it means that there is a presumption that the marital assets will be split equally in a divorce. Spouses have an incentive to protect their assets. Otherwise, they may lose half of them.
Community property laws can take a bite out of assets
There is little that spouses can do to protect themselves once they have been married without a prenuptial agreement. Courts will cast a very wide net in determining what is community property, and spouses can do very little legally to protect what they believe are their own assets. This is why a prenuptial agreement is vital in a community property state like Arizona. The court will not consider equitable distribution factors, so you could walk away from the marriage with far less than you entered it.
Prenuptial agreements are critical for protection in a divorce
Parties will negotiate and sign a prenuptial agreement before they are married. This agreement will determine ahead of time what may happen financially in a divorce. For example, it could state that each spouse will leave the marriage with certain property that they brought into it. This agreement is critically important when one or both spouses has accumulated assets before the marriage. The prenuptial agreement may protect a business that one spouse started before the union. It will also provide a degree of certainty to each spouse about what will happen in the divorce. The prenuptial agreement will reduce the risk of litigation.
Not all prenuptial agreements are enforceable in court, and one spouse may try to challenge it. This is why you need a divorce lawyer’s help in negotiating and drafting the agreement. Each spouse will need their own attorney, since one lawyer cannot represent both sides to a contract.