What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?
Prenuptial agreements, also known as antenuptial agreements or “Prenups,” are contracts between people who intend to marry in which they agree in advance how property and alimony issues will be decided in the event of divorce or separation. They also provide how the surviving spouse will be provided for upon death.
Prenuptial agreements are recognized and are enforceable in Tennessee. In fact, prenuptial agreements have been written into the law since 1980. While there are limits to what a prenup can control, the significant benefits make considering a prenup worthwhile.
It is important to understand the obligations and responsibilities that come with marriage, as well as the costs involved when a marriage does not work out. We all go into marriage hoping for the best, but it is always a good idea to protect your interests in the event a divorce occurs.
It is also important to understand the rights of a surviving spouse in the event of death so you and your prospective spouse can plan to protect your separate children’s inheritance.
A prenuptial agreement is an invaluable pre-marriage and estate planning tool. Some reject the idea of using this as “planning for failure” but, a properly prepared agreement protects both spouses-to-be and gives their extended families security and confidence that their parent’s legacy will not be lost and their inheritance will be preserved.
Who Should Consider a Prenuptial Agreement?
Prenuptial agreements aren’t just for multi-millionaires or celebrities. Anyone who has accumulated significant assets, has a business, owns land, or has children from a previous relationship should consider a prenuptial agreement if getting married.
Why You Should Consider a Prenuptial Agreement?
If you have specific ideas of how property should be divided or if you have separate property you want to make sure remains exclusively yours after a divorce, you need to consider having a prenuptial agreement. If you are certain that neither spouse will pay alimony in the event of a break up, you should have a prenuptial agreement.
Divorce and legal separation aren’t the only concerns addressed in prenuptial agreements. The protection of inheritance rights of children from a previous relationship is often the most important motivation for signing a prenuptial agreement.
In Tennessee, a surviving spouse has first priority over other heirs in probate, even if there is a Will that provides otherwise. A surviving spouse’s rights can override the dictates of a Will. If a surviving spouse chooses, he or she may be able to claim the majority of the estate.
This result is ordinarily NOT what the couple intends when they decide to marry. Instead, most couples with children from previous relationships want to provide for their children fairly and assume their children will be treated fairly. A valid prenuptial agreement allows the couple to protect themselves and their children from the harsh results of the law. It allows for the couple to plan for death as well as divorce and preserve their legacy for their children.
When Should You Consider A Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement must be negotiated and signed well in advance of the wedding date. The law requires that both spouses have time to review the agreement and consult with independent legal counsel so that each can make a fully informed decision without undue pressure. Discussions about a prenup should begin early so that both spouses-to-be can be fully informed of the benefits of the agreement and how it may affect their rights.
Where Can You Get More Information?
A prenuptial can create or limit very important rights and responsibilities. Don’t leave your and your children’s future to chance and, “hope it all works out.” Call our law office today for more information regarding whether a prenuptial agreement is right for you. If you have been presented with a prenup, call Attorney Phillip R. Walker to review the agreement and advise you how it affects your rights and responsibilities.
A prenuptial agreement can allow you to start your marriage with the certainty and give it the best chance of success. Talk to an experienced attorney today to learn more about how a prenup can benefit you.
Call For A Free Phone Consultation
Consulting a lawyer about a personal decision such as a prenuptial agreement can be intimidating. Some attorneys will not discuss your concerns unless you make a financial commitment up front. We take a different approach.
We offer a free initial phone consultation so you can talk with a lawyer, not an intake screener, about your legal matter and decide if we are a good fit for you. Give us a call at 901-387-3000 or contact us online. We will answer your questions and tell you about our approach to your legal matter.