You may have heard the celebrity gossip that Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom have finally reached a prenuptial agreement.  Well, it’s technically not a PREnuptial agreement since they apparently inked the deal after the marriage had taken place, but that’s a topic for another day.

The subject of prenuptial (also called an antenuptial) agreements certainly make for good entertainment in sitcoms and tabloids.  While many people think they know what a “prenup” is and how one works, but misconceptions abound.  I’m going to clarify this for you with a quick summary of how these agreements work in Tennessee.

Requirements of a valid prenuptial agreement

A prenuptial agreement works like any other contract in that it requires an agreement between the parties and an exchange of some sort of value (called “consideration”).  The marriage itself can be the item of value.  Typically one person is agreeing to marry in exchange for the signed agreement.

However, there is one additional component:  In order to be valid, a prenuptial agreement requires full disclosure of all financial assets to both parties.  In other words, if a man presents his future bride with “just a little agreement” for her to sign, but doesn’t tell her about the billions he has in investments, the agreement will likely be invalid.  He’s also a lying scumbag, which increases the odds that he’ll be wishing the agreement was valid.

What can you put in an antenuptial agreement?

Normally, these agreements are used to determine ahead of time how the couple’s property will be divided.  In the case of Khloe and Lamar, the gossip is that Lamar will keep his salary, but will keep the joint account funded.

In Tennessee there are few restrictions, except that child custody and child support cannot be determined in a prenup.  The courts will reserve the ability to make sure the minor children’s needs are satisfied.   Also, there have been cases where courts will refuse to uphold an agreement if one party would be left completely broke.

For these reasons, if you are considering using a prenuptial agreement, you should seek the help of an attorney to make sure the agreement is proper under state law.  If you have significant assets or investments, it is wise to protect your property in case your marriage doesn’t work out.

On the other hand, if you are presented with one of these agreements by your fiance, you should consider what the agreement says about your relationship.  If the agreement would make a fair division of property and avoid an expensive divorce battle, that’s great.  If the agreement looks more like some sort of retirement program giving the other party an unfair advantage, it may be as important to consult with a marriage counselor as well as an attorney.

What do you think about these agreements?  Good?  Evil?  Sometimes necessary?   Only suitable for Hollywood marriages?  Let me hear it!