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Same-sex couples should consider pre-nups or post-nups

When same-sex marriage became legal in the United States, many same-sex couples rushed to the altar to finally enjoy a fundamental right they had been denied. Unfortunately, some of these marriages were not well-thought out, and some couples later faced a messy divorce. However, what we can learn from the situation is that by executing a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement, same-sex couples in Tennessee can protect their financial interests should their marriage not last.

A prenuptial agreement is essentially a contract a couple enters into prior to getting married. It addresses how assets and debts will be divided should the couple divorce. It can also address how spousal support will be handled should the couple divorce. However, prenuptial agreements are not just about divorce. They can also address other issues, such as disability, death and inheritances. Moreover, they serve as a good way for couples to talk about how they want to handle their finances and raise a family. These discussions can form a firm foundation for a couple's marriage.

Prenuptial agreements can also set straight who owns what in the marriage. If a piece of property is to be kept separate from the couple's marital property, a prenuptial agreement can address this. Keep in mind, however, that appreciation of a separate asset during the course of the marriage may still be considered marital property. Also, debt incurred prior to marrying will remain separate unless it is commingled with debt incurred during the course of the marriage.

Prenuptial agreements take effect once they are signed and then the couple marries. Postnuptial agreements, on the other hand, are entered into after a couple is married and therefore take effect once signed. A postnuptial agreement can address many of the same topics that a prenuptial agreement would address.

In the end, whether a couple wants to enter into either a prenuptial agreement or a postnuptial agreement, it can help for each party to have the assistance of an attorney familiar with same-sex family law. As these agreements are legally binding, each party should make sure they have a complete understanding of what they are signing. An attorney can also make sure that their client's rights are fairly represented.

Source: Forbes, "What Same-Sex Couples Should Know About Marriage Agreements Before Getting Married," John Schneider and David Auten, Dec. 10, 2017

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