Three things you cannot put in a prenuptial agreement
There are lots of reasons to have a safety net. When it comes to marriage, a prenuptial agreement can serve this purpose. Prenuptial agreements, or a prenup, can serve several benefits. They can help to protect a business in the event of a divorce, keep family heirlooms safe and even take some of the stress out of a marriage by allowing each party to know their assets are safe.
Although these documents can achieve a number of goals, there are some things that state law will not allow. If anyone tried to include one of these provisions within their prenup, it could mean the court would not uphold the prenup or, in serious offenses, void the whole agreement.
Three examples of provisions that you cannot put a prenup include:
#1: Almost anything about children
Prenuptial agreements cannot outline how a divorce will impact issues involving children like child custody and support. This is because lawmakers view such provisions as against public policy. Instead, state law encourages parents to put together a parenting plan to handle these matters during the divorce process. In the event parents cannot agree during the divorce, the courts will retain the power to determine the best interests of the child in these situations.
Although the prenuptial agreement cannot guide child support or custody matters, they can still have provisions to help children in certain situations. This is particularly true if children are present from a prior relationship. The prenuptial agreement, along with estate planning measures, can include provisions to protect assets for the children in the event of a divorce.
#2: Unfair distributions
The court will likely take the overall distribution into account when looking at the validity of a prenuptial agreement. They may not agree to uphold a prenup that appears overtly unfair or unconscionable.
#3: Personal matters
State law generally intends for these agreements to help guide financial matters in the event of a divorce. A prenup is not a tool to outline the marital rolls, for example, stating one should focus only on taking care of the home.
Bonus round: The document must meet Tennessee state law requirements
To be valid, a prenuptial agreement must meet the requirements of state law. In Tennessee, this means each party must enter the written agreement freely and without duress or undue influence. It is important to take the time to have the agreement drafted to your situation. This will better ensure an agreement that meets your goals and mitigate the risk of any surprises if you ever have to use it.