Getting married can be one of the most incredible experiences in life as well as one of the most important decisions you will ever make. Most people are familiar with prenuptial agreements, which are binding documents that outline the terms of property division in the case of a divorce. This type of document is drafted before marriage.
Postnuptial agreements are lesser known but can be just as crucial to protecting a party’s assets should marital dissolution occur. These binding documents are drafted after the marriage has taken place and are best prepared by a qualified family law attorney. At Landry & Azevedo, we’re here to represent you and ensure your assets are protected, regardless of the size of your estate.
A couple may seek a postnuptial agreement when their estate grows or shrinks. For example, one party may receive a sudden windfall of income, such as an inheritance, or purchase a vacation home. If they have just gotten married, they may whish to protect their assets should there be a divorce.
Or perhaps one spouse’s estate has shrunk in size. It could be one of their rental properties was foreclosed upon, or they lost a job and were forced into selling something valuable possessions, such as jewelry. In this case, that spouse may want a postnuptial agreement so that they can protect their vulnerable assets.
It is also possible that in the wake of marital problems, a couple may draft a postnuptial agreement. Should the possibility of divorce increase during the marriage, it could be a practical choice to address both party’s separate and marital assets.
Separate Assets And Marital Assets
The state of Tennessee is an “equitable distribution” state, meaning that property won’t necessarily be divided 50-50, should a divorce occur. The court will separately value each party’s assets and assign monetary value accordingly.
With this information, the court will seek to evenly divide the former couple’s assets in terms of dollar value. It is possible one party will not receive any portion of certain assets, such as a real estate property, a car, or a business. Postnuptial agreements can save a lot of stress and heartache by setting a clear plan for each asset should divorce occur.
Certain assets are easier to assign value to than others. Stocks, investment portfolios, bank and savings accounts all have a specific monetary value. Other assets, such as real estate, jewelry, cars, and businesses, can be much more challenging to prove their exact value. Often, it comes down to opinion or their word versus yours.
If a couple owns a business together, the situation can be especially complicated. A postnuptial agreement is critical in this scenario, so that you may determine the fate of your business beforehand and ensure its financial stability.
Some people may think the assets they entered into the marriage with are always safe. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. A separate asset can quickly become a marital asset should commingling or transmutation occur. This essentially means the separate asset was treated like a marital asset for the duration of the marriage.
A postnuptial agreement can clarify the future of each party’s assets and avoid any problems when facing Tennessee’s equitable distribution laws.
A Postnuptial Agreement Can Help Your Marriage
Though it may not seem like it, a postnuptial agreement can be a great opportunity to evaluate many aspects of your marriage. It can be a time to analyze spending habits, attitudes towards money, and any outstanding debt.
It is not uncommon for one spouse to enter into the marriage with a very different relationship towards money than the other. This kind of difference is frequently known to cause marital strife. One spouse may dip into savings regularly, or disregard savings altogether. The other may value frugality and become frustrated with excessive spending.
In the case of a second or third marriage, the issue of payments to prior children could come into play. Outstanding alimony payments could also be a point of contention.
Sometimes, infidelity may be an issue. An unfaithful spouse may put his or her “money where their mouth is,” so to speak, and agree to some form of financial compensation should there be another act of infidelity. Hopefully, this does not apply to you, but it is a relatively common occurrence.
A postnuptial agreement can relieve some of the unspoken tension in the air and remove the burden of financial uncertainty should divorce occur. Landry & Azevedo has helped dozens of Knoxville couples draft marriage-saving postnuptial agreements, ensuring they are detailed, effective, and enforceable – and we can help you too.
Enforcing Postnuptial Agreement
With the right legal representation, a postnuptial agreement is enforceable in a court of laws and can protect your assets. Though the constraints may be tighter compared to a prenuptial agreement, each spouse does have the ability to protect certain assets if the postnup is carried out effectively.
Landry & Azevedo is Here to Protect Your Assets
Entering into marriage can be an amazing time in your life full of excitement and a lifetime of memories, but it is also a crucial decision. Whether this is your first marriage, or second, third, or more, you have a right to seek protection for your property, both separate and marital.
Tennessee’s equitable distribution laws can be difficult to navigate in the case of divorce. Unlike some states, a divorce will not necessarily result in a 50-50 split of property. Should you be experiencing marital problems, it is critical to consider a postnuptial agreement. Give our Knoxville office a call today for your postnup consultation.