Although prenups have the potential to become a tense discussion, perhaps counterintuitively, they can offer a future marriage security and peace of mind. By making clear what will happen given what circumstances, it facilitates understanding between both partners and avoids situations characterized by mismatched expectations. This blog post will introduce and explain what prenups are and why courts may sometimes invalidate a prenup. If you would help with a prenup, or you would simply like to learn more about what they entail, please don’t hesitate to call a Memphis prenuptial agreement lawyer. With our decades of experience, we will guide and inform you.
First and foremost: what is a prenup? There’s an air of trepidation around even the word, but it’s just a contract between future spouses about what will happen if the marriage ends.
This post will discuss the factors that make a prenup valid and invalid in a moment, but in terms of definitions, it’s important to point out that to be valid, prenups require both future spouses to disclose all information about their assets and liabilities to each other. That is another way that prenups can be helpful to a marriage, by encouraging a level of honesty.
Prenups have many benefits. They help avoid long and costly legal battles, which can be especially helpful in high net worth divorces. By deciding key financial issues like alimony, business interests, and division of investments, prenups reduce the chance of a drawn-out and exhausting contested divorce. As a result, prenups also help protect the financial wishes of each spouse from a contrary decision on the part of the court during a contested divorce.
What Factors Might Invalidate a Prenup?
As mentioned above, for a prenup to be valid both partners must disclose information about their assets and liabilities. Beyond that, a valid prenup requires that both future spouses have independent legal counsel. Both must also agree to the prenup voluntarily, each having enough time to consider every part of the prenup before the marriage.
Therefore, violating any of these might result in the prenup being voided. Courts may refuse to enforce a prenup if one of the spouses has evidence the other hid financial information from them (undervaluing or simply refusing to mention the existence of) assets and liabilities. If it turns out that one partner was threatening the other to sign the prenup, the court will very likely void the prenup.
Which is one of Tennessee law’s particularities regarding prenuptial agreements. That last element—the voluntariness of the prenup—is interpreted differently from state to state. In states like New York, telling your partner that you won’t marry them unless they sign the prenup is valid. In Tennessee, however, doing so would amount to coercion or duress.
Other reasons prenups may be invalidated include that the agreement was unconscionable or improperly filed. As a contract, prenups must be correctly filed. As for unconscionable, that is a term from contract law, used to describe situations where an agreement is so lopsided, so beneficial to one side without helping or even possibly hurting the other, that a court concludes no reasonable person would accept it and no fair and honest person would request it.