Prenuptial Agreement

Knoxville Prenuptial and Postnuptial Attorneys

Prenups are about peace of mind – we promise

We don’t hear a lot of love songs about prenups. You can find lots of romantic songs and art about marriage proposals, being engaged, “goin’ to the chapel,” and all that. But prenuptial agreements? Not so much. However, used the right way, a prenup can add to the bond of trust between spouses and their families.

Sure, these contracts do hedge against divorce, but prenups and postnups also safeguard assets for both spouses. The Knoxville family law attorneys at LaFevor & Slaughter can help draft, negotiate, or litigate your agreement. A detailed and well-crafted prenuptial agreement will fit perfectly into your estate plan, protect you from creditors and facilitate inheritances to your children. Get in touch with us to find out how we can help you.

Prenups in Tennessee have a bad reputation

Let’s face it. Prenuptial agreements have been around for decades, and still can’t shake that stigma of one spouse being a “gold digger,” or one spouse being naïve or coerced. Today, though? That can’t be further from the truth. Prenups are simply part of the process of getting married; just another piece of paperwork.

Our attorneys work with your spouse’s attorney, not against them, to draft a mutually satisfactory and beneficial agreement. We negotiate with transparency and cooperation, leading to a prenup that strengthens the bonds of your marriage – going in with eyes open and shared trust.

What’s the difference between a prenuptial agreement and a postnuptial agreement?

The main difference between pre- and postnups is exactly what you think – one is signed before you get married and one is signed after you get married. But there are also some subtle differences.

  • Prenuptial agreement. A prenup is a binding legal document you and your future spouse have drawn up before you get married. It protects all your separate assets you bring to the marriage, like retirement accounts, property, and so on. A prenup can also lay out guidelines for how things will go if you ever do end up getting a divorce. Things like alimony, dividing up property and who is going to get what are already decided so you can go about getting your life back on track. Hopefully, you’ll never need it, but if you do, wouldn’t it be nice to know that everything has already been decided.
  • Postnuptial agreement. A postnup has basically the same information as a prenup, but it’s drafted and signed after you get married. Again, it lays out instructions on how your marital property and assets should be divided in case of separation, divorce, or death. Spouses may find postnups handy if one spouse comes into a big amount of money during the marriage, if family finances change, or if later in the marriage you decide it’s time for separation or divorce.

Many couples find that nuptial agreements help them separate their finances and give them the opportunity to have honest talks about money. And since finances are one of the most common divorce triggers, it reduces conflict about money in the marriage. Talk about starting off on the right foot!

Prenuptial agreements are also ideal if you’re remarrying, or have kids from a previous relationship. We can talk about it and let you know what might be right for you.

What should I put into my Knoxville prenup?

If you and your spouse are going to sign a prenuptial agreement, you have to make sure it’s thorough. If it ends up being vague, it might come into question in court, which is exactly the opposite of why you are going through the trouble of getting one drafted in the first place. You can put almost anything you want into a prenuptial agreement, except for anything revolving around child custody or waiving child support, or anything blatantly unfair or coercive. And we’ll make sure that doesn’t happen.

The first thing you need to know about a prenup is that they’re not one-size-fits-all. Every couple is unique, and your marital agreement needs to be unique, too. Our attorneys work with you, your fiancée, and their attorney to design a custom prenup that takes your personal needs into account and builds the foundation for the strong marriage you both deserve.

A bulletproof prenup answers questions like:

My stuff versus your stuff versus our stuff

Your prenup can designate what assets are personal or marital property, depending on whether they were held prior to, or during the marriage. This helps reduce fights  over property division in the event of a divorce. It’s hard to argue over something when it’s right there on paper.

Who gets the house?

You can’t really cut the house in half, or the family car, or any of the big stuff. A prenup takes care of that right from the start. You and your spouse can decide in advance if you’ll sell the house and split the proceeds, give it to the parent who gets primary custody of the kids, or any other mutually agreeable solution you come up with.

Who pays the bills?

Divvying up debt brought into or accumulated during a marriage can be a huge sticking point during division of property. A detailed prenup can assign responsibility for certain debts, protecting you both. Without one, you’re risking taking on a hefty amount of debt at the end of a marriage that may or may not even be yours.

Legal Separation

How about alimony?

You can outline provisions for spousal support in a prenup. On the other hand, Tennessee law allows you to waive alimony as well. Because not every state allows you to waive alimony in a pre- or post-nuptial agreement, consult with your attorney about the strength of your agreement. What’s legal in Tennessee might not be enforceable in Georgia, and vice-versa. We make sure your documents are binding and enforceable.

What if our divorce gets ugly?

This is when a prenup really kicks into gear. You both agreed to the terms when you signed the document. But what happens if you decide to split up, things get contentious, and one of you decides they don’t want to play by the rules? A solid prenup includes guidance on exactly how to settle these types of disputes – mediation, arbitration, litigation, or any creative means you like.

What the heck is a “sunset clause” and do I need one?

Some couples choose to include what’s called a sunset clause into their pre- or post-nups. What this means is that your prenup expires after a certain amount of time passes. You can set it to expire after five, 10, 15, or any number of years. If you don’t have a sunset clause, your prenup lasts indefinitely.

The attorneys at LaFevor & Slaughter can help make sure you craft a prenup that addresses, well, just about everything but the kitchen sink. Actually, you can include the sink if you want to.

Did you know?

You can put literally almost anything in a prenup. Business Insider reports that couples have put the following items in prenuptial agreements: frozen embryos, intellectual property, pets, sex toys (!), and holiday decorations.

What’s not allowed in a prenup?

Although prenuptial agreements give you a lot of room, there are still a few things you can’t put in them. The court will reject some pre- or post-nups if they have certain terms. Here’s what you can’t put into a prenup:

  • Any terms considered unfair, one-sided, exploitative, or deceitful
  • Anything requiring illegal activity
  • Child custody, visitation, and support (but you can put in provisions for kids you already have)
  • Non-financial requirements, like maintaining certain appearances, intimate relations, appearing at family functions, etc.
  • Verbal agreements – any contracts or agreements must be written, signed, and notarized

Don’t worry. We know how to write a valid prenup or postnup, and we really know a poorly-written agreement when we see one. We protect the interests of you and your kids with every resource we have.

How do I know if the prenup my fiancée gave me is any good?

In the words of Ronald Reagan, “Trust, but verify.”  That’s good advice regardless of how you vote.

Never sign ANY contract without consulting with an attorney first. Can’t stress that enough. Having said that, though, you can recognize the signs of a prenuptial agreement that may not hold up in court:

  • Failure to disclose all assets. If you or your fiancée don’t disclose all of your assets, your contract may end up invalid. Also, if any of those assets end up fraudulent, your prenup’s gonna hold a lot less weight in court.
  • Duress or inequity. If the prenup takes extreme advantage of one party, it’s likely considered unfair. And, if the court feels one of you signed the contract under duress or coercion, the agreement may not count.
  • Promotes divorce. Prenups can’t have terms that say stuff like, “If you do _____, I can divorce you.” This incentivizes divorce and you can’t do it.
  • Not notarized or signed. If your agreement isn’t signed by both of you and notarized, it won’t be considered legal.

Our Knoxville family law attorneys are happy to review your prenup, negotiate better terms, or help you draft a new one.

More stuff to read about prenups:

Knoxville prenup attorneys protecting your assets and your future

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are a great tool for couples who know how to plan ahead. These contracts take the stress and headache out of future disagreements over property division. If you’d like to talk more about how a prenup can benefit your marriage, call the family law attorneys at LaFevor & Slaughter. To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys, call us at (865) 637-6258 or fill out our contact form today.