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Danica Patrick's Divorce Races Toward Settlement

By Aditi Mukherji, JD | Last updated on

NASCAR star Danica Patrick's divorce has gotten the green light from an Arizona judge, who signed off on the racecar driver's split from (now ex-)hubby Paul Hospenthal last week.

Patrick put the pedal to the metal to complete her uncontested divorce. The couple's community property will be divided pursuant to a settlement agreement that's yet to be submitted to the court. But Patrick pre-emptively put the brakes on dishing out more money by signing a prenup.

So how do prenuptial agreements work in Arizona?

In Arizona, a prenuptial agreement is an agreement made between two spouses before they get married. It's not the most romantic, but before you get hitched, you sort out the property and financial rights of each spouse in case your spouse divorces you to date another NASCAR driver.

A valid Arizona prenup has two basic requirements: It has to be in writing and has to be signed by both soon-to-be spouses. Oh, and the marriage has to actually happen.

But there are certain circumstances in which a signed prenup won't be considered valid, like when one person is coerced into signing the agreement or if, at the time of signing, a spouse didn't know about your house and offshore accounts in the Bahamas. (No hiding assets, you guys!)

Prenuptial agreements can be amended or revoked at any time if it's a written agreement signed by both parties.

In Danica Patrick's case, she married Hospenthal back in 2005 -- the same year she burst onto the scene as the fourth woman to compete in the Indy 500, reports TMZ. Her financial worth has skyrocketed since then, so it's entirely possible that she amended her prenup at some point during the couple's seven-year marriage.

Divorce isn't (usually) on people's minds when they get married, but there's good reason to keep it in mind. To all the rom-com lovers out there, sorry to break it to you, but about half of all marriages in this country end up in divorce proceedings. Sadly, life is not a Kate Hudson movie, so it's not a bad idea to at least consider going down the Danica Patrick "track" and put together a prenup.

Even if you're not loaded like Danica Patrick, a prenup can protect family businesses and serve other important functions beyond protecting wealth.

Sure, for matters of the heart, listen to your heart. But for matters of property and finances, you may want to listen to Kanye West.

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