Prenuptial Agreement Law in Minneapolis, Minnesota
If you plan to be married in the near future, you may want to consider visiting a prenuptial agreements attorney along with your other wedding planning activities. Prenuptial agreements are more common now than ever in history. More marrying couples each year choose to create a prenuptial agreement as a way to protect themselves from the possibility of an eventual divorce.
When you and your fiancé are considering a prenuptial agreement, it is important that you both understand prenuptial agreement law. While reading and researching on your own is a good way to start educating yourself about the process, nothing can replace customized advice from a prenuptial agreements attorney.
What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is simply a contract that is made between two people who are planning to marry each other. This contract outlines the rights of each spouse and the way property would be divided in the event of a divorce. A prenuptial agreement can additionally address estate planning issues if either of the spouses die.
How is a Prenuptial Agreement Different from a Post-Nuptial Agreement?
A post-nuptial agreement is very similar to a prenuptial agreement. The only difference is that a post-nuptial agreement is entered into after the couple has already been married.
How Do I Know if I Need a Prenuptial Agreement in Minnesota?
There are many scenarios in which a person could benefit from entering into a prenuptial agreement. The most common is a situation where one person has a significant number of assets and the other person does not. It is then in the interest of the person with assets to protect to seek a prenuptial agreement keeping those assets separate. When two people are married without a prenuptial agreement stating otherwise, their separate property converts to marital property and is then subject to division during a potential divorce.
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 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 own 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 have 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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