Helping Couples Protect Their Assets by Planning For the Future
In our modern times, many individuals wait until they are older and more established to enter into marriage. In other instances, one or both parties have been married previously and are cautious concerning their acquired real or personal property.
As a result, many future spouses have acquired considerable personal or business assets they wish to protect should their marriage end in divorce.
One of the easiest ways for spouses to protect their separate assets is to draft a prenuptial agreement, often referred to as a prenup. However, specific legal steps must be adhered to during the prenup process.
For this reason, it is always in your best interest to hire an experienced prenuptial agreement attorney who can thoroughly review your case to ensure your legal needs are met.
Contact Garner Law Firm, PLLC of Sumner County, TN, and ask to schedule a consultation to discuss your case and learn how we can assist you with creating a premarital agreement.
What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement or prenup is a legal contract that future spouses sign before they marry one another. Tennessee courts view a prenuptial agreement just as any other legal contract as long as it adheres to all legal criteria.
The prenup provides guidance for how the couple will divide their assets in the event they divorce, or one spouse passes away. The most vital aspect of this legal document is that it addresses the topic of finances and the division of property, which typically includes real estate holdings, motor vehicles, bank accounts, retirement accounts, and furniture.
Couples must finalize a premarital agreement before the wedding. Under Tennessee law, a prenup becomes legally valid when the parties are legally married.
Individuals who should consider having a prenup include:
- One spouse has significantly more wealth or assets than the other.
- Either future spouse has separate property or debt they bring into the marriage
- Either spouse has been previously married.
Finally, a prenuptial agreement is ideal for a spouse who has children from a previous marriage or relationship and wants to ensure their new spouse and children are provided for upon their death.
If you still need clarification about a prenup, contact Garner Law Firm, PLLC, and ask to schedule an appointment with a prenuptial attorney who will gladly answer your questions.
What Should Be Included in a Prenuptial Agreement?
Most individuals are familiar with the basic premise of a prenuptial agreement and the fact that it divides property between the two spouses should they divorce. However, every prenup should be tailored to the specific needs of each couple so that it can be properly enforced should the need arise.
A well-written prenup should be used as a guide for which parties retain or receive specific assets should the marriage end in divorce. Having a prenup can save the couple significant time and money and avoid the delays of a contested divorce.
Some of the issues that should be addressed in a prenup include:
- Inheritance: In most instances, individuals who have inherited or may inherit assets wish to protect those assets. A prenup can help individuals protect inherited assets, especially in the event they die before their spouse.
- Marital property: A prenuptial agreement should also address how marital assets will be divided. In general, marital assets are considered those the couple has acquired during the course of the marriage.
- Complex assets: Assets obtained from separately owned businesses, rental property, investments, and retirement plans should also be addressed. Failure to do so could eventually result in a long-drawn-out legal battle in court, costing both individuals time and money.
- Spousal support: A prenup can dictate the terms of alimony should a divorce occur.
However, issues that involve child custody issues that minor children, or child support cannot be addressed in a prenuptial agreement.
What Can Render a Prenuptial Agreement Invalid?
Several legal issues could render a prenuptial agreement invalid. For this reason, individuals must hire a well-qualified prenuptial lawyer with experience in drafting prenups.
Some of the most common reasons that prenups may be rendered invalid by the court include:
- The document was signed under duress or through coercion.
- One party was not given sufficient time to have the prenup reviewed by their legal counsel.
- One party failed to disclose their assets or debts fully.
- The prenup is one-sided, unfairly favors one party, and is considered inequitable by the court.
- Invalid provisions, such as those that try to dictate terms regarding spousal maintenance or child support.
- Any actions prohibited by state or federal law.
A prenuptial agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties before a notary. If a prenuptial agreement is not notarized, the court may declare it invalid.
If you have questions about what may render a prenup invalid in Tennessee, contact Garner Law Firm, PLLC in Sumner County, and ask to speak with a qualified legal team member who will gladly answer your questions.
Why Do I Need to Hire a Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer?
Because Tennessee is an equitable division state, it is even more essential that couples have a valid prenuptial agreement in place. Many individuals mistakenly believe that “equitable division” means all assets are split 50/50 between spouses. However, in Tennessee, equitable division means that the court divides the assets based on what the judge feels is fair.
Garner Law Firm, PLLC can prepare a prenuptial agreement to stand up to legal scrutiny should the marriage end. Additionally, suppose you are already married but feel that you need to protect assets and plan for the future or help your spouse potentially avoid taxes. In that case, our legal team can assist you with creating a postnuptial agreement.
If you are engaged and need more information about prenuptial agreements, contact Garner Law Firm, PLLC, in our Hendersonville, TN, law offices by calling 615-502-4336 and requesting an appointment with our highly experienced family law attorney.