Prenuptial Lawyers in Minnesota
Prenuptial agreements are often considered by individuals who own businesses, or other valuable assets, prior to marriage, and parties who are getting married for a second time and want to preserve their estate for their children. To remain enforceable, a prenup must be substantively fair, and executed in a procedurally fair manner.
The Purpose Of A Prenuptial Agreement
Prenuptial agreements allow engaged parties to “re-write” the law, and determine how the financial issues will be addressed should their marriage end prematurely – either by divorce, or death.
Prenuptial agreements are sometimes referred to as “prenuptials,” “nuptials,” “antenuptials” or “antenuptial agreements.”
Such agreements, by definition, must be entered into prior to marriage. If executed by the parties following marriage, the document is known as a “postnuptial agreement,” and different standards apply.
Podcast: An Overview of Prenuptial Agreements in Minnesota
The Nature Of A Prenuptial Agreement
Many parties to a pending marriage are concerned about finances in the event that the marriage terminates early because of a divorce.
Our prenuptial agreement lawyers in Minnesota can work with you to help protect your pre-marital assets, along with increased value in pre-marital property, even if due to what would otherwise be defined as “marital efforts.”
Common situations involving a prenuptial agreement include business interests owned prior to marriage (including partnerships and family-owned corporations), along with a desire for investment returns on pre-marital assets to remain pre-marital.
Many couples will agree to keep all of their finances separate, utilizing a joint bank account only for those purchases they wish to be considered “marital” in nature.
Some couples get married for a second time, later in life, and want to ensure that their pre-marital assets are preserved, for the benefit of their children.
In addition to asset protection, a prenuptial lawyer in Minnesota can help address the issue of spousal maintenance. Limits, both in terms of duration and amount, can be imposed. In many situations, the parties agree in advance that each will waive the right to seek spousal maintenance in the event that the marriage of the parties fails.
Most couples opt to treat the division of their assets differently if the marriage ends because of a death of one of them, as opposed to a divorce. It is not uncommon, for example, to preserve all pre-marital retirement assets if the marriage ends in divorce, but to give a spouse full interest in the pre-marital retirement assets if the marriage ends because of death.
Enforceability Of Prenuptial Agreements
In order for a prenuptial agreement to be valid in Minnesota, two tests apply. First, the document must be substantively fair. Second, the document must have been executed in a procedurally fair manner.
In terms of substantive fairness, the Court will explore the inherent fairness of the provisions of the agreement itself. Do the parties find themselves in a situation contemplated at the time they entered into the prenuptial agreement? If so, it is likely to be enforced. If not, the Court may elect to re-write the provisions of the prenup on “fairness” grounds.
As to procedural fairness, the question is whether the document was executed in a way that was appropriate. Did each party have the opportunity to consult with prenuptial attorneys in Minnesota? Was either party put in a position of duress, coercion or undue influence? Was the agreement signed at the last minute, or did the litigants have an opportunity to think critically about the agreement in advance of execution?
Postnuptial Agreement Requirements
In terms of postnuptial agreements (signed after marriage), each litigant must be represented by counsel in order for the agreement to be enforceable. Moreover, should the parties petition to dissolve their marriage anytime within two years following the execution of a postnuptial agreement, the agreement is presumptively unenforceable.
Contact our expert prenuptial agreement attorneys in Minnesota today for a consultation.