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Nashville, Tennessee Family Legal Blog

How are prenuptial and postnuptial agreements different?

It is often difficult for couples in Tennessee to discuss the topic of a prenuptial agreement before they get married. Even if you and/or your spouse thought it was a good idea, you may have worried about how the other person would react when you brought it up or had concerns that it may endanger the relationship. Needless to say, the window of opportunity to enter into a prenuptial agreement closes at the end of the wedding ceremony. However, if you still think that you and your spouse could benefit by setting parameters for the division of property in the event of a divorce, you have the option of creating a postnuptial agreement.

According to FindLaw, a postnuptial agreement accomplishes many of the same objectives that a prenuptial agreement does by delineating provisions for handling a couple's debts and assets after a divorce. However, that was not always the case. Prior to the 1970s, which is when more states started adopting no-fault divorce laws, postnuptial agreements were generally unenforceable. 

What are the benefits of joint-custody?

There is no question that going through a divorce can be an extremely emotional process, especially when there are children are involved. It is difficult to separate a family, divide property and create a successful parenting plan. In a number of cases, children are placed in the sole-custody of one parent, while the other parent is given visitation rights. However, studies show the ways in which children may benefit when raised in a joint-custody arrangement.

A study published in the March Journal of Family Psychology looked at kids raised in sole-custody, joint-custody and traditional family situations. Researchers found that kids who lived in joint-custody homes had higher self-esteem, fewer emotional and behavioral problems, better school performance and stronger family relationships. Parents who share custody of the children often have a better relationship, which can be less stressful for the kids.

Is alimony an outdated concept?

Alimony, or spousal support, is one of the most common terms spoken about during a divorce, next to child custody and property division. However, the subject of spousal support tends to be contentious and controversial. You and other Tennessee residents may be interested in learning why some people think alimony is outdated, while others say it is still necessary.

According to Money, alimony came into existence when grounds for fault were still necessary to get a divorce. The person considered “at fault” through infidelity, spousal abuse or other factors was penalized by a court order for alimony. As you know, no-fault divorces are the norm today, but many people still consider spousal support to be necessary for the lesser-earning partner after the end of a marriage.

How should I discuss my divorce with others?

If you and your spouse in Tennessee have made the choice to end your marriage, you will soon realize that this decision has an impact beyond just the two of you. Certainly, this is true if you have children together but even your other extended family, neighbors, friends and colleagues will at some point come into the picture. For you, this can be a challenge as you may not know how to field questions or discuss this change in your life. It will be important for you decide how you will talk about your divorce to all of these people.

The Chicago Tribune recommends you decide how you want people to think about your divorce and what you want them to know and then practice your "speech". What you say to people might differ based upon their role in your life. A co-worker may need to know less than what you might share with your child's teacher, for example. 

Prenups are a good investment

If there is one takeaway from the Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos divorce, it's this — sign the prenup. Although the wealthiest couple in the world live in a community property state, at least one website is reporting that the two never signed a prenuptial agreement.

This likely means that the Bezos' fortune — which is an estimated $136 billion — will be halved. The couple married before Bezos founded Amazon, which, over time, turned him into the richest man in the world. When the ink is dry on his divorce decree, that distinction will be lost.

Letting your spouse keep the house

If you are getting divorced in Tennessee, it is not uncommon to learn that your spouse wants to keep your house instead of selling it. This happens quite often, especially when a couple has children who still live at home. The emotional desire to maintain any sense of stability and familiarity for kids is understandable. However, you should be careful to not allow this emotional tug to put you in a bad financial situation.

As explained by, if your spouse wants to retain your family home, you should insist that they refinance to get a mortgage in their name only. This is the only way to ensure that you will be free of the financial liability associated with the house. Even if you sign a quit claim deed that transfers your portion of the ownership to your spouse, you will be considered financially responsible if your original joint mortgage remains in place.

Tense custody exchange results in near-stabbing

The hope is that when parents share custody in Nashville, any negative feelings that they might have for each other (or the other's new partners) can be put aside for the good of the kids. Placing distance between feuding former spouses may serve to alleviate some of the tension in their relationship, yet inevitably there will be situations where they must encounter one another (such as in custody exchanges). Such exchanges need not be more than just a cordial exchange that last no longer than a few minutes, yet sadly, there are times when they can devolve into full-blown altercations. 

Such appears to have been what occurred between a mother and the girlfriend of her child's father in Pennsylvania. When the child's mother arrived to pick up her son, an argument allegedly broke out between the two women. As the mother attempted to leave the scene, she claims the other woman began throwing objects at her, one of which struck her new vehicle. This apparently angered her, and she responded by grabbing a knife and chasing after the woman (who took refuge in her own car). When she could not get through the car window with her knife, the child's mother allegedly began stabbing the vehicle's bumper. She eventually left, but was later found by authorities and arrested. 

Appellate court reverses judge's decision in abduction case

In all matters involving child custody (both in Nashville and elsewhere), family courts almost universally default to the standard of what is believed to be in the best interests of the children involved. That aspect may often outweigh the actions of the parents. However, a parent's actions may ultimately have bearing on what a child's best interest may be. If it is believed that they may be acting in a manner that could be potentially harmful to a child, then the court may choose to reflect that opinion in its ruling. 

Such was the decision handed down by a federal appeals court in Florida recently after reviewing the details of a case involving the international abduction of two young boys. The boys currently live in Florida with their mother, who is an American citizen. Their father, who is from Panama, is fighting to have them returned to his custody. This most recent incident actually marks the second time the mother has abducted the boys from Panama, with the first occurring in 2009. She was later ordered to return the boys to Panama, which she did, only to once again return with them to the U.S. in 2014. 

You can approach the topic of a prenuptial with confidence

Your upcoming marriage in Tennessee is quickly approaching and you have started to spend some time thinking about the prospect of signing a prenuptial with your partner. However, you are concerned that bringing up such a sensitive topic will create tension and ruin the trust you have worked so hard to build with your soon-to-be spouse. At Rogers, Kamm & Shea Attorneys at Law, we have helped many people to articulate and finalize the terms of their prenuptial agreement. 

While you are certainly justified in your concerns about creating a ripple, approaching the topic in the right manner, with the right intentions and in an environment that is both appropriate for the discussion and comfortable, you can increase your chances of having a positive and healthy discussion that is void of heated arguments. According to Business Insider, avoid sugar coating your concerns and be forthright in explaining the fears that you have. Discuss your desire that both of you remain financially secure even if the relationship eventually ends. 

Artists, your creations are subject to division in divorce

Many couples with significant assets dread divorce because that means splitting up the valuable treasures they collected during their marriages. For some divorcing spouses, this could mean dividing an art collection.

But you don't have to have a Picasso or a Warhol hanging over the sofa to own valuable artworks. In fact, if one of the spouses is an artist, these creations may all need to be professionally valuated right along with more traditional paintings from other artists.

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