Many Minnesotans rely on prenuptial agreements to protect their assets. In essence, a prenup rewrites the law; it allows a couple to agree on the terms of division in the event that they eventually divorce. A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding contract, but in order for it to be enforceable, it must be substantively fair – and executed in a procedurally fair manner.
Why People Use Prenuptial Agreements
Prenuptial agreements, which are often called prenups, nuptials, antenuptials and antenuptial agreements, are a layer of protection for people who own businesses or other valuable assets.
Generally, people who want to preserve their estates use prenuptial agreements; so do people who want to hang on to business interests owned prior to the marriage, such as partnerships and family-owned businesses).
Prenuptial agreements can also address issues such as spousal maintenance. They can set forth limits on time and amounts, or they can preclude either party from seeking spousal maintenance at all.
Enforceable Prenuptial Agreements
Prenuptial agreements must be fair, and the document must have been executed in a procedurally fair manner under Minnesota law. What that means is that the court will evaluate whether the two parties are in situations similar to those that they were in when they originally signed the agreement; if they are, it’s likely enforceable.
However, if one spouse has become disabled and the other is seeking a divorce, the agreement may not be enforceable because the disabled spouse’s circumstances may preclude him or her from being able to live without a fair division of assets.
When we talk about procedurally fair document execution, we mean that the court will determine whether each party had the opportunity to consult with a lawyer, or whether either party was under duress, was being coerced, or was placed under undue influence to sign.
The courts also look at whether the prenuptial agreement was signed at the last minute or whether the parties had plenty of time to think about what they were signing.
Some people sign postnuptial agreements; they’re essentially the same as prenuptial agreements, except that they’re signed after the marriage takes place.
In order for postnuptial agreements to be enforceable, both parties must be represented by attorneys. Additionally, the party must not file for divorce within two years of the execution of the postnuptial agreement.
Get the Help You Need
If you’re contemplating signing a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, or if you need help enforcing one, call us for a confidential case evaluation. Call (763) 783-5146. We’re here to assist you in any way we can.