A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding document that both future spouses sign before their wedding day. This type of contract becomes effective from the moment the couple is officially married. This document helps organize the division of assets and other legal matters in the event that the couple seeks a divorce or a legal separation.
Given the complexity of the Tennessee laws governing prenuptial agreements, working with an experienced family law attorney helps ensure that your document meets the enforceability requirements. If you are interested in a martial contract but did not create a prenuptial agreement, the state allows a married couple to establish a postnuptial agreement that serves similar purposes.
Why Should I Get a Prenuptial Agreement?
All couples can benefit from pursuing a prenuptial agreement regardless of their assets and incomes because it can simplify the process of marriage dissolution when necessary.
Someone may especially want to create a prenuptial agreement if they:
- Were previously married (with or without children)
- Are a business owner
- Have significant financial and property assets
- Have a much higher income than their future spouse
If one party has significant debt, opting for a prenuptial agreement can establish who is responsible for repaying that debt.
Provisions You Can Include in a Tennessee Prenuptial Agreement
An important factor when drafting a marital contract is to establish what is separate and marital property, especially if you are opting for a postnuptial agreement.
A Tennessee prenuptial agreement can address matters such as:
- Property and asset division
- Protection for a child from previous relationships
- Pet custody
- Debt payment
If you choose to include provisions about alimony, they can cover the type, amount, or duration of alimony payments a party may seek during a divorce. A spouse can also choose to waive or limit their rights to alimony in a marital contract.
One thing that your prenuptial agreement cannot legally discuss is child custody. This is left up for discussion during an actual divorce and approval by a judge.
Make Sure Your Prenuptial Agreement Is Enforceable in Tennessee
Creating and signing a marital contract that suits both you and your spouse is not enough for a court to consider it valid and enforceable. Your prenuptial agreement has to meet several requirements for a judge to accept it.
In Tennessee, a prenuptial agreement is valid if:
- It is in writing form
- Both parties entered into it freely and in good faith
- Both parties had sufficient time to carefully review the contract
- It is fair to both parties
- You have executed the document before getting married
If you want to challenge a prenuptial agreement, you usually must demonstrate that the other party did not fully disclose their assets or debts and/or that you were coerced into signing it.
Hire a Trusted Family Law Attorney to Create and Review Your Prenup
The state of Tennessee does not legally require you to hire an attorney to create your prenuptial agreement. However, working with a trusted attorney can make a positive difference. They understand the complexity of the law and stay up to date with changes that can affect marital contracts.
When you hire a family law attorney, they can assess your situation and recommend specific provisions and structure for your prenuptial agreement to meet your specific needs and ensure that a court finds the document valid and enforceable if you ever get a divorce.
If you ever want to modify your prenuptial agreement or create a postnuptial agreement if you did not have a prenup, a lawyer can help you find the solution that fits your situation. Their deep understanding of the law also helps them notice if any provision may be unfair to you and they can help protect your rights and assets.
Are you considering drafting a prenuptial agreement in Chattanooga or its surrounding areas? Contact Conner & Roberts, PLLC, today at (423) 299-4489 to schedule an appointment with one of our family law attorneys!