Tennessee Standards on Postnuptial Agreement Enforcement
Though postnuptial agreements cover many of the same topics as a prenuptial agreement, they still remain under close scrutiny in the courts. In general, the courts will determine whether both parties had adequate consideration in the terms of the agreement.
Under the law, consideration exists when a party exercises their legal rights to do or not do something. In determining adequate consideration, the courts will review if reconciliation after a separation or contemplation of divorce occurred. However, the courts do not enforce that separation or consideration of divorce occurs, so long as both parties can show they understand what the document entails.
In the case of Bratton v. Bratton, 136 S.W.3d 595 (Tenn. 2004), the Tennessee Supreme Court declined to enforce a postnuptial agreement eighteen years after its drafting for lack of adequate consideration. The Court found that the husband gave adequate consideration by agreeing to provide half of his net worth to his former wife if the divorce was his fault based on infidelity. However, the wife’s consideration of the postnuptial was vague as she merely promised not to pursue a career as a dentist.