When starting a new life with someone, you may never consider what will happen if the marriage fails. But by coming to an agreement with your spouse both before and during the marriage, you protect yourself and your spouse should something happen with the marriage. The family law attorneys at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC have assisted couples throughout the Nashville area with negotiating, drafting, and executing prenuptial agreements. These contracts can establish terms regarding important decisions, such as asset division and spousal support in the event of a marriage’s dissolution.
What are Prenuptial Agreements?
Prenuptial agreements are also known as ante-nuptials or premarital agreements. They are contracts a couple enters into before marriage. These agreements contain provisions regarding each spouse’s rights and obligations in the event of divorce or death. A prenup may contain clauses regarding asset divisions and spousal or child support specifications. They may not contain clauses for waivers of parental support and time-sharing rights. The court will not enforce any provision that purports to waive these issues.
These agreements can protect increases in the value of non-marital property. This applies even when a non-owning spouse substantially contributes to that property during the marriage. If you do not take this possibility into account, such a contribution otherwise may convert separate property into a marital asset. This is an important stipulation, especially in the event of a high-asset divorce or alimony.
When Do We Recommend Prenuptial Agreements?
We recommend a prenup if:
You have significant personal property, such as family property or property in which others also have interest
You own a business
You have substantial investment assets
You earn significantly more than your spouse-to-be
Your spouse-to-be has sizable debt
In these circumstances and others, a prenuptial agreement can help protect your property during marriage and in the event of divorce.
Are Prenuptual Agreements Enforceable?
The answer to the above question is yes, under certain conditions. To be enforceable, couples must create prenuptial agreements knowledgeably and in good faith. This means the absence of any undue influence or duress by either spouse. In Tennessee, postnuptial agreements must have adequate consideration in some other manner, such as mutual promises.
Both parties must sign these contracts with full and accurate knowledge of the property involved and their rights. They must be fair and equitable to both parties in order for the court to validate the agreement. It is possible that a prenup is invalid. To prove this, the contesting party must show its execution was flawed because it was affected by:
The failure to value or disclose assets properly
Contact Our Family Law Attorneys to Create a Prenup Today
Although entering into a marriage is a joyous event, planning for all types of contingencies is an important step in making sure you and your family are protected. At Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC, we are committed to carefully advising our Nashville clients on what stipulations should be included in their prenup agreements, as well as negotiating those terms and properly executing a valid contract.
If you are planning to get married, or are already married and wish to protect your assets, now is the time to act. Contact our family law attorneys in Middle Tennessee today for more information.