Legal Requirements for Prenuptial Agreements in Tennessee

Dedicated Middle Tennessee divorce attorney fights to protect your rights

No one gets married thinking they will get divorced, but the reality is that a large number of marriages do end in divorce. When a split happens, you aren’t in the best emotional place to decide things like who gets the marital home or whether one spouse deserves alimony. Negotiating a prenuptial agreement before you get married can help protect you in case of a divorce, or at the least give you some certainty about what will happen, whether you are trying to protect the assets you are bringing into the marriage or you are trying to shield yourself from being left in dire financial straits by your spouse.

I’m Judy A. Oxford, an experienced Franklin divorce attorney, and I help my clients negotiate prenuptial agreements to try to help protect their future in case their marriages end. The right prenuptial agreement can give you peace of mind and even help your marriage get started on the right foot. Knowing that you won’t be on the line for your spouse’s significant debts in case of a divorce, for example, can alleviate a lot of pressure if you have made the decision to go on into the marriage. I help my clients understand their rights and negotiate to try to get the best agreement to meet their goals.

What makes a prenup legal?

There aren’t a lot of requirements for a prenuptial agreement to be legal and valid. The requirements are basically that:

  • All assets, income, and liabilities are fully disclosed.
  • Both parties have ample time to review the agreement before signing.
  • Both parties enter into the agreement freely, in good faith, without exertion of duress or undue influence on either party.

To challenge a prenuptial agreement, you have to show that one of these requirements was violated. You might prove that your spouse had a lot more debt than you knew about when you got married, or that your spouse had more property than you realized (property that may have remained hidden during your marriage). You might argue that you were coerced into signing the agreement or were under duress. Examples might include being told that your spouse would not marry you if you didn’t sign, or your spouse springing the agreement on you the day of your wedding.

There is an exception in the law that if the prenup waives or limits alimony, it won’t be enforced if the result is to leave one spouse as a “public charge” (i.e., supported at public expense).

When I work with clients before the marriage, I help them deal with the issue of whether all assets and liabilities have been disclosed, and I counsel them on all their rights and obligations to ensure they are making an informed decision. When I work with clients after the prenup has been signed, I help them try to secure the evidence for challenging the agreement. Before or after the marriage, my goal is always the same: To protect the rights of my clients and try to get the best result for them.

Getting independent legal counsel

Some couples may try to use the same family law attorney to handle their prenuptial agreement in an effort to save money, but doing so can put the validity of the agreement in jeopardy. A single attorney cannot objectively represent the rights of two parties in a single prenuptial agreement. Both parties have competing interests. Each of you should use independent counsel. If you do not, there is room for an allegation (at the time of a divorce or separation) that the lack of independent counsel caused the agreement to be invalid.

Always have your prenuptial agreement reviewed by an attorney who represents only you. As an experienced Franklin divorce attorney, I have helped many clients like you understand how a prenuptial agreement can protect them or how certain terms threaten their future. I help my clients negotiate to try to get the best agreement so that they have the future they deserve in case the marriage ends.

Hire a skilled Franklin family law lawyer to craft the right prenuptial agreement for you

Don’t let romantic optimism keep you from getting the protection you need in the form of a prenuptial agreement. You may not be able to contemplate the possibility of divorce now, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Protect yourself in case it does. Call me, Judy A. Oxford, an experienced Franklin divorce attorney, to help you design or negotiate a prenuptial agreement that will help to protect your future, or at least make it more certain when a divorce or separation happens. Call my office at (615) 791-8511 or use the secure online form to schedule a free consultation.

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