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Are prenuptial agreements about more than just money?

Tennessee law may sometimes refer to prenuptial agreements as antenuptial agreements, but the process is the same: executing a contract before marriage that addresses issues of asset and debt division, and possibly matters of spousal support or setting boundaries to the marital estate.

Readers may question whether it is advisable to make money an issue before marriage, or even a condition of getting married. However, that viewpoint misses the point. A premarital contract is about planning for the future and obtaining peace of mind. In fact, the list of issues that can be addressed in this type of contract is quite extensive.

First, a couple can negotiate their obligations for anticipated monthly expenses. This can be an important catalyst for discussion in an area that might be sensitive, especially if one spouse has a significantly higher income. That income disparity might be accompanied by expectations that would otherwise be unvoiced. It’s much better to talk about shared bills in advance, rather than be surprised after the issue has become a problem.

In the same vein, a couple might have unspoken expectations about careers and parenting. If one spouse plans to put a career on hold and stay at home, a couple should discuss whether that sacrifice should be compensable. After all, it might take additional education or expense to acquire skills and make oneself marketable for reentering the workforce after an absence of several years. A prenuptial agreement can help couples talk about that expectation. In the event the relationship comes to an end, this agreement will provide security and guidance in any alimony discussions.

Source: Forbes, “5 Things To Keep In Mind When Negotiating A Prenup,” Ginger Dean, April 4, 2016

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