Lex Loci Contractus and Tennessee Prenuptial Agreements
Prenuptial agreements give you a lot of freedom about which of your assets you do and don’t want to combine. You can include provisions in your prenup about spousal support, business ownership, debts, or even pets. The only subject that is truly off-limits in a prenuptial agreement is children and child support. Most of the time, the court will enforce any of the provisions you and your spouse agreed to in your prenup. If necessary, though, you can challenge the prenup during your divorce on the grounds that you were pressured into signing it. One example of this from Tennessee caselaw involves a woman named Deicy whose husband Steve presented her with a prenup the day before their wedding, threatening to cancel the wedding and withdraw her green card application if she didn’t; the prenup was in English, which Deicy did not know how to read, and she did not have time to get it translated. If you signed a prenup hoping never to need it and are now going through a divorce, contact a Tennessee prenuptial agreements lawyer.
Is Your Prenuptial Agreement Ambulatory?
Angie Larsen and George Giannakoulias began their relationship in 2006 and married in 2008, after the birth of their first child. Before they married in New Mexico, they signed a prenuptial agreement, mostly to avoid encumbering each other with their premarital debts; Angie owed about $450,000 on a home mortgage in Tennessee, and George had a $300,000 home equity line of credit on a house he owned jointly in Florida with his 95-year-old aunt. The prenup stipulated that neither party would seek alimony in the event of a divorce. The parties moved numerous times throughout the marriage as Angie took progressively better paying jobs as a cancer surgeon; George stayed home with the children, and Angie’s mother often stayed with them to help with childcare. The biggest problem in their marriage was George’s failure to contribute financially to their marriage; by the end of 2009, George had maxed out his $300,000 without Angie’s knowledge by day trading on the stock market. What little money he made, he sent to his parents and extended family in Florida. They settled in Tennessee after the birth of their third child.
The final straw was when George ran up nearly $400,000 in debt on a bed-and-breakfast they owned jointly. During their divorce, he made every effort to sabotage Angie’s parenting efforts, from little things (like telling the children, without first discussing it with Angie, that Santa Claus doesn’t exist and saying that they should be proud of their father’s Greek heritage but not their mother’s Scandinavian heritage) to enormous ones (waiting 24 hours to seek medical treatment when their son broke his arm by falling six feet from a ladder onto a concrete floor, taking the children on weekend-long visits to the houses of nudist friends and photographing the children nude). To add insult to injury, George requested alimony even though the prenup specifically forbade it. The appeals court judge invoked the doctrine of lex loci contractus, which means that the laws of the state where the prenup was signed govern the agreement. New Mexico, where Angie and George signed their prenup, does not allow a spouse to waive his or her right to seek alimony. Therefore, the appeals court remanded the case to the trial court to decide how much alimony Angie should pay George.
Contact an Attorney Today for Help
A family law attorney will help you read the fine print on your prenup, and there is always fine print. Contact Knoxville prenuptial agreements lawyer Patrick L. Looper for help with your case.