Can Prenups Address Adultery?
Marriage is a huge commitment, and adultery is the breach of trust that precipitates many divorces. Many people wonder whether they can use a prenuptial agreement to address what will happen in the event that one spouse cheats. The short answer to this question is “yes,” and if you are considering entering into a prenuptial agreement with your future spouse, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible.
The Basics of Prenuptial Agreements in Tennessee
Prenuptial agreements, often referred to as simply “prenups,” are contracts signed between people who are planning on getting married that addresses the way that certain issues will be addressed in the event that they get divorced. They are typically used to protect financial interests, such as when one spouse is wealthy or forgoes pursuing an education or career to support the other spouse’s endeavors.
When prenuptial agreements address adultery, they typically impose a financial penalty on the spouse who cheats. For example, Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake reportedly have a clause in their prenup that awards her $500,000 in the event that he cheats. The reasoning behind infidelity clauses like this is to incentivize fidelity and to punish spouses who are unfaithful. While for a wealthy celebrity couple, infidelity penalties of hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars may be appropriate, for the rest of us, much lesser penalties may be sufficient to deter cheating.
Already Married? It’s Not Too Late to Protect Your Rights
If you are already married and are concerned that your spouse might cheat, it’s not too late to take steps to protect your marriage. Postnuptial agreements can work just like prenuptial agreements, but they are entered into after rather than before a marriage. They can contain all of the same clauses and terms, including those that impose financial penalties on cheating husbands or wives.
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements Should be Drafted by an Experienced Family Law Attorney
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can be a powerful tool to protect your rights in the event that your marriage fails, but they need to be enforceable if they are going to do anything at all. Any mistakes that you make in the process of drafting and executing either a prenup or postnup can result in a court declaring it invalid, which means the default rules about property division and alimony will apply to your divorce case. Consequently, it’s in your best interest to work with an attorney to ensure that your prenup or postnup in valid and enforceable.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Murfreesboro Family Lawyer
If you are engaged or already married and are considering executing a prenup or postnup to protect your legal rights, it’s critical that you speak to an attorney as soon as you can. At Dotson & Taylor, we’re committed to helping individuals and families meet all of their family law needs. Call us today at (615) 890-1982 or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation with a member of our team.