Many people believe that the day of their marriage marks a point where love and commitment are at their strongest levels. In fact, the relationship grows on a daily basis as they work together to resolve the unexpected personal issues that continue to arise. They support each other through illnesses, employment issues and even natural disasters, yet they become uncomfortable when the topic turns to money or possessions.
Although prenuptial agreements (referred to as antenuptial contracts under Minnesota law) deal with other important issues beyond divorce, our clients often prefer to avoid these contracts before the wedding ceremony. However, they often seek assistance from an experienced Minnesota prenuptial lawyer at some point after the marriage to put a practical spin on issues that arise as their relationships continue to solidify.
Five Uses for a Postnuptial Agreement
Spouses who enter into postnuptial agreements are often surprised by the way the process encourages them to take a clear look at their complete financial status. Any number of details reveals the need to make arrangements that they have put off for the future. While the reasons for formalizing agreements are virtually limitless, the following are five common uses for postnuptial agreements:
- Earnings allocation: Particularly when one spouse experiences a significant increase in earnings, a contract that allocates a specific percentage to each spouse can help prevent disagreements about spending.
- Family business: When one or both spouses own or plan to own a family business, they should agree upfront on many issues, including the funds used to pay off business debts and how to divide the business in the event of divorce or other adverse situations.
- Handling of co-mingled funds: A windfall inheritance by either spouse can enable the purchase of a house or other major assets — provided those funds are co-mingled as a marital asset. Once co-mingled, funds are no longer the property of one spouse, but a contractual arrangement can help prevent unfair losses in the event of divorce.
- Post-marital student debt: It is not uncommon for one spouse to return to college after marriage, but both spouses need to reach agreement on who is responsible for paying off the debt.
- Revision of prenuptial agreements: As circumstances change during marriage, couples who have entered into prenuptial agreements may need to change the terms. Under Minnesota law, this must be done by executing a valid postnuptial agreement.
The Rules for Postnuptial Agreements Exceed Those for Prenuptial Agreements
The rules for executing valid prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are very similar. However, while the law pertaining to prenuptial agreements states that both parties must have the opportunity to consult with legal counsel of their own choice, the same statute specifies that a postnuptial contract is valid and enforceable only if at the time of its execution each spouse is represented by separate legal counsel.
The prenuptial agreement attorneys at our firm firmly believe that either type of agreement requires separate counsel for each party to help protect their individual interests. Call us at (763) 783-5146 or use our convenient contact form for a knowledgeable assessment of all needs.