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Memphis Prenuptial Agreements Lawyer
In a perfect world, perhaps there would be no divorce or, if divorce did occur, individuals would treat one another fairly. In either case, we do not live in a perfect world. Divorce occurs, and parties can attempt to take advantage of one another through the divorce process. As a result of this reality, some Tennessee spouses may find a need for a prenuptial agreement.
In essence, a prenuptial agreement is a contract that the marrying couple enters into before the marriage is actually pronounced. The agreement specifies what is to occur if the parties do in fact divorce at some point in the future. It is important that these prenuptial agreements comply with legal requirements in order to be enforced. Both spouses should also retain separate legal counsel to ensure their legal interests are protected.
Why Would Couples Agree to a Prenuptial (or Premarital) Agreement?
It would seem to be the antithesis of love: drafting an agreement before marriage that sets forth what is to happen in the event the marriage ends. But couples who have children from another marriage or who are entering the marriage with significant assets may find peace of mind in entering into a prenuptial agreement as such an agreement can protect their financial interests and/or the interests of their children from a previous marriage in the event the current marriage ends in divorce. A prenuptial agreement, for example, can require that one spouse leaves the marriage with all the assets he or she entered into the marriage with even if those assets were commingled with marital assets during the course of the marriage.
Most lawful objectives and goals can be accomplished through a premarital agreement. If the parties agree how property is to be divided in a prenuptial agreement, for instance, the courts will most often enforce that property division. However, parties cannot enter into a prenuptial agreement that specifies who will receive primary custody of any children of the marriage as this determination is always subject to the court’s independent judgment. Likewise, the parties cannot agree that one parent would have no obligation to support any children of the marriage.
Making a Prenuptial Agreement Enforceable
Even if the parties enter into a prenuptial agreement, this agreement can be set aside and disregarded by the court in certain circumstances. Legal counsel is beneficial in drafting and executing prenuptial agreements as an experienced attorney can help ensure the agreement will withstand future legal attacks.
In general, in order for a prenuptial agreement to be enforceable it should:
- Be in writing and signed by both parties;
- Be made after each party makes a full and fair disclosure of their assets and liabilities to the other;
- Be entered into with each spouse receiving independent legal advice and counsel;
- Be entered into well in advance of the marriage so each spouse has an opportunity to review and consider the agreement; and
- Appear to be “fair” to an outside observer.
Two of the most important considerations for a court asked to set aside a prenuptial agreement is whether the two spouses had an opportunity to seek the advice of an independent attorney before signing and whether both spouses made honest and accurate declarations to each other regarding their individual assets and liabilities.
Seek Skilled Legal Help When Drafting or Challenging a Prenuptial Agreement
Though they may appear simple, drafting an enforceable prenuptial agreement or challenging an agreement takes legal skill and experience. The attorneys at Douglass & Runger, PLLC, have the knowledge and experience necessary to accomplish these important tasks. Contact them for assistance by calling (901.388.5805)