In terms of marital property, although Tennessee is an equitable division state, a common issue plaguing many separating couples in Tennessee is division of property at the time of divorce. While some couples are able to decide on property division without intervention from outsiders, a large number of separating couples disagree over property division and subsequently end up in court.
One way to resolve the issues between spouses is to have a prenuptial agreement prepared and signed before entering into the marriage. Many orthodox thinkers may consider a prenuptial agreement to be a display of distrust between spouses but, over time, this perception has dramatically changed. A prenuptial or premarital agreement, just like any other contract, must be written and signed by both spouses. It is not necessary to have witnesses notarize a premarital agreement, but notarizing eliminates the possibility of the agreement being cited as forged in the future.
A premarital agreement primarily addresses the issue of property division. Therefore, although not mandated by statutes, many courts require spouses to fully disclose their assets as well as probate and inheritance matters in the agreement. Other issues, such as child custody, child support and spousal support may be mentioned in the agreement, but it is not necessary, as a court's decision pertaining to these matters will reflect the provisions contained in the prenuptial agreement.
To ease the often disputed process of property division at the time of divorce, it is crucial for a prenuptial agreement to clearly define the course of action to be taken at the time of separation, as any ambiguity will lead to further disputes. Drafting and implementing a prenuptial agreement may be challenging for a commoner because of the numerous legal implications it can have. Therefore, seeking a lawyer's advice may be helpful to most people who are planning a prenuptial agreement.
Source: Huffington Post, "A Premarital Agreement Primer," Brad Reid, June 26, 2014