Baby Nups: Myth or Reality?
Conflict over the time commitments, financial resources, and emotional labor involved in taking care of young children can lead to the breakdown of marriages. Happily married couples often worry that, once the adorable new baby comes home, a loving, good-humored wife will turn into a controlling shrew or that a reliable, responsible husband will transform before his wife’s eyes into a second baby equally demanding of her care. A prenuptial agreement can give you a lot of information, before you get married, about your partner’s financial plans and views on money. If only there were a parenting equivalent of a prenuptial agreement. Tennessee law does not recognize “baby nups” of the kind making their rounds on the Internet in recent weeks, but it does recognize some kinds of legally enforceable agreements related to the raising of children. A Tennessee family law attorney can help you establish legal arrangements that are in the best interests of your children and your family.
The Real-Life Analogues of Baby Nups
According to Tennessee law, there is no such thing as a prenuptial agreement about a couple’s future children. In a prenuptial agreement, you can make virtually any kind of provision about property, which includes pets, but children are not property. Therefore, Tennessee family courts decide matters related to parenting and child support separately from other issues in a divorce. The deciding factor is always the children’s best interests.
All divorced couples and never-married couples who have a child together must file and abide by a parenting plan. It details which days of the year the child will be with which parent, as well as whose responsibility it is to transport the child to or from the other parent’s house. It also specifies whether one parent has the authority to make unilateral decisions about extracurricular activities and non-emergency medical care for the children or whether they share that authority. The parenting plan, which does not address questions of financial support for the child, is separate from the child support agreement.
Baby Nups Aren’t Real, but They Might Save Your Marriage
Even though the law does not recognize baby nups, writing one could improve your relationship with your spouse; it could even prevent a divorce. It is important for new parents to talk about how to share the responsibilities of parenting. The baby, of course, will have his or her own plans, but the more carefully the parents think, ahead of time, about their own responsibilities in their growing family, the more easily they will be able to cope with the baby’s unpredictable sleep schedule and ability to misplace pacifiers and outgrow clothing. Sometimes it is the communication that counts, which is why real prenuptial agreements can also prevent divorce.
Contact Us Today for Help
A family law attorney cannot make a baby nup legally enforceable, but he can help parents who have separated find a way to co-parent their children. Contact Knoxville divorce attorney Patrick L. Looper for a consultation.