What Issues Can a Prenuptial Agreement Cover?
As long as it is drafted into the contract, a prenuptial agreement can resolve virtually any matter related to the spouses’ property, spousal maintenance, assets, and debts. Common divorce issues covered in a prenuptial agreement include:
- Identifying separate property, including gifts and inheritances.
- The division of marital assets and debts.
- Whether or not either spouse will be entitled to a certain amount of alimony for a specified period of time.
- Whether or not each spouse will receive life insurance benefits.
There are certain issues that cannot be decided in a prenuptial agreement. For example, they cannot dictate future child support obligations, as child support is the right of the child and not the parent. A judge must make all final rulings on custody and child support matters during a divorce, based upon the best interests of the child.
How Can I be sure that my Prenuptial Agreement will be Enforceable in Minnesota?
Minnesota, unlike most other states, has not adopted the Uniform Prenuptial Agreement Act. This makes prenuptial agreements a matter of state law. Generally speaking, a prenuptial agreement is required to be in writing and it must be signed by both parties. In addition, the contract has to be executed in front of both a notary and two witnesses. If, for any reason, the couples decide not to get married after the prenuptial agreement is signed, the contract will become void.
Under Minnesota prenuptial agreement law, a contract will be upheld only if the following requirements are met:
- Both potential spouses have honestly disclosed all of their earnings, assets, and debts.
- Both potential spouses have had an opportunity to meet with their own prenuptial agreements attorney to review the fairness of the contract.
- Both spouses chose to sign the agreement voluntarily.
- The contract has been properly recorded in a county where either of the spouses owns real property.
A judge will consider factors such as whether the prenuptial agreement was fair and conscionable at the time it was signed by the spouses. Overall, the court will determine whether or not an agreement is fair by looking at its potential result at the time of the pending divorce. A prenuptial agreement may be considered unconscionable or unfair if one of the spouses is set to walk away with all of the assets while the other spouse is left with nothing or worse; only with the debts. A spouse who is left with no choice but to seek out public assistance because he or she cannot afford to support themselves and has not been awarded alimony under the contract may ask to have the prenuptial agreement overturned. An unconscionable agreement will be deemed invalid.
In the case of a marriage that is later voided due to fraud, the court will not enforce the prenuptial agreement. Prenuptial agreement law can be very complex and requires sound legal advice from an experienced Minneapolis prenuptial agreements attorney.
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