Bratton v. Bratton

136 S.W.3d 595 (2004)

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Bratton v. Bratton

Tennessee Supreme Court
136 S.W.3d 595 (2004)

Facts

Cynthia Lee Bratton (plaintiff) and Michael Wayne Bratton (defendant) married in June 1982. When the couple married, Michael had completed his first year of medical school, and Cynthia was a research technician. Cynthia had a child from a previous marriage, and the couple later had two more children. In August 1983, the couple entered a postnuptial agreement, which outlined the division of property if the couple divorced. The postnuptial agreement provided that if Michael was guilty of statutory grounds for divorce and Cynthia initiated the divorce, the parties would divide the property equally. The postnuptial agreement also required Michael to pay Cynthia half his net income if Cynthia began a divorce and Michael was guilty of the statutory grounds for divorce. At trial, Cynthia testified that Michael proposed a postnuptial agreement to formalize an agreement before the marriage, stating Michael would provide one-half of his income if the couple divorced. Michael testified that Cynthia demanded a legally binding agreement to protect her if Michael left her. In March 2000, Cynthia filed for divorce, and Michael subsequently filed a motion for partial summary judgement to have the postnuptial agreement invalid for lack of consideration. The trial court granted Cynthia a divorce based on Michael’s adultery and divided the marital property by the terms of the postnuptial agreement. On appeal, the court of appeals found the postnuptial agreement was a violation of public policy. Cynthia and Michael both appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Barker, J.)

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