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Knoxville Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Prenuptial Agreements > What Does It Mean to Consent to a Prenuptial Agreement?

What Does It Mean to Consent to a Prenuptial Agreement?


Tennessee law regards prenuptial agreements the same way that it regards any legal contract.  In other words, the agreement is only valid if both parties to the agreement understand and consent to all its provisions.  Because prenuptial agreements often involve one spouse waiving the right to financial support that they would otherwise receive in the event of a divorce, the courts take care to ensure that the wealthier spouse did not pressure the less wealthy spouse into signing the agreement.  If your fiancé wants you to sign a prenuptial agreement, it is a good idea for both of you to meet with a Tennessee prenuptial agreement lawyer before you sign the agreement and before you marry.

Details of the Hollar Case

Steve Hollar met his future wife Deicy online in 2009, when he was living in Florida and she was living in Colombia.  He spoke only English, and she spoke only Spanish, so they used translation software to enable them to exchange messages.  Two months after they had been chatting online, Steve traveled to Colombia to meet Deicy, and one of her neighbors interpreted for them.  By the time he traveled back to the United States, they had gotten engaged.  In June of that year, Steve returned to Colombia to marry Deicy, and he brought a prenuptial agreement, which he asked her to sign before the wedding.  The agreement was in English, and Steve asked the 16-year-old son of a friend of Deicy’s parents to explain to Deicy what the agreement said.  Although the young man gave Deicy only a brief description of the agreement, saying that it related to Steve’s property and to the marriage, Deicy signed.

Deicy moved to the United States 18 months after the wedding, after she obtained a visa.  Several months later, she and Steve moved from Florida to Tennessee.  They separated in December 2012 because of physical abuse on Steve’s part, and Deicy moved to a shelter for survivors of domestic violence.  When Steve filed for divorce in early 2013, Deicy requested that the prenuptial agreement not be enforced, since she had not understood it.  She had never read a Spanish translation of the agreement; the teenager who had explained it to her was not a professional interpreter, and he had not given her a thorough description of its contents.  Steve said that he had given Deicy money to hire an interpreter, but Deicy said that, since he only gave her the agreement one day before the wedding, she had not had time to hire one.

At trial, the court ruled not to honor the terms of the agreement.  In contrast to the provisions of the agreement, it ordered Steve to pay Deicy transitional alimony and to cover her attorney’s fees.

Contact an Attorney Today for Help

Prenuptial agreements should not be used to control people or to take advantage of their financial vulnerability.  Contact Knoxville prenuptial agreement attorney Patrick L. Looper for a consultation.


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