Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements in Minnesota
A prenuptial agreement, which is referred to as an antenuptial agreement in Minnesota, is a contract that two individuals enter into prior to getting married. A postnuptial agreement is a contract that is entered into after two individuals have already gotten married. For a prenuptial agreement to be valid, each of the individuals must fully disclose all of his or her property and income to the other individual, and each must have an opportunity to consult with an attorney of that individuals choice regarding the prenuptial agreement. For a postnuptial agreement to be valid, each of the spouses must actually be represented by separate attorneys. It is good practice for each of the individuals to a prenuptial agreement to actually have separate attorneys as well, to ensure that the document will be fair and enforceable. Both prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements must be signed in the presence of two witnesses and must be notarized. If these formalities are not followed, the prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is not valid.
Possible Provisions in Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can address several issues between the two individuals or may be limited to a single issue. Since the agreements must identify all property owned by both individuals, the agreements frequently also specify that the identified property shall remain the non-marital/pre-marital property of that individual in the event of a divorce. The agreements may alter the definitions of marital property and non-marital property as provided under Minnesota law, and may simply state that all property acquired by each spouse during the marriage shall remain that spouse’s property in the event of a divorce.
The prenuptial and postnuptial agreements also frequently address the issue of spousal maintenance (alimony). The agreement may simply state that neither spouse shall receive any spousal maintenance in the event of a divorce, or the agreement may provide a set formula for specific amounts of spousal maintenance based on specific lengths of the marriage. For example, the agreement may state, if the parties get divorced within the first five years of the marriage, there would be no spousal maintenance, but if they get divorced between five and ten years of marriage, a spouse may be entitled to $1,000 per month in spousal maintenance for a period of three years, etc.
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements cannot address issues of child support, child custody or parenting time.
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements also frequently address issues regarding the death of either spouse, and whether the spouses waive any rights that they would each otherwise have in the other’s estate and beneficiary designations under Minnesota law. In such a case, it is important and advisable for the spouses to have a well thought out estate plan to address the allocation of their property and belongings after death (which can be accomplished at our law firm as well).
Speak with an Attorney Regarding your Rights and Obligations with any Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
If you are getting married and you want to protect your assets or otherwise secure some certainty in the event of a divorce, or if your soon-to-be-spouse is asking you to sign a prenuptial agreement prior to getting married, contact the law firm of Blahnik, Prchal and Stoll for advice, guidance and to draft the agreements. Our firm routinely represents clients in the preparation of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.