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How prenuptial agreements are handled in Minnesota

Minnesota couples who choose to marry will frequently do so hoping for the best case scenario: that it will work out and they will stay together for the duration of their lives. That, however, is often not realistic. In some cases, one member of the union will have significant assets or property that he or she would like to protect in the event that the marriage doesn't work out and ends in divorce. To provide that protection, prenuptial agreements are crafted. In the state of Minnesota, these are also referred to as ante-nuptial contracts. The law has certain requirements for these and post-nuptial agreements. If there is an issue with the contract, the laws must be understood.

People who are of age are able to enter into a contract before the marriage to protect their possessions and lay out the rules of what will happen if the marriage ends in divorce. The agreement will be valid and can be enforced if: each persons' property is fully and fairly disclosed, and if the parties have had legal advice of their choosing before it is signed. The ante-nuptial agreement will list what the sides are entitled to if the marriage ends, the parties legally separate, or if it is terminated by the death of one or the other.

Some couples enter into a post-nuptial agreement after they have already been married. This agreement will be enforceable in the event that it is in compliance with premarital contracts or settlements, and is fair and equitable to both sides when it is agreed to and enforced. It must also comply with the requirements for post-nuptial contracts. The post-nuptial agreement can't determine issues regarding child support, custody of children or parenting time. Any "post-nup" is generally considered unenforceable if one spouse or the other decides to end the marriage or legally separate within two years of the execution of the contract.

As with any other contract, there are numerous other issues that can arise to affect the validity of these marital agreements. Whether it's a high asset divorce or a more modest one, these agreements can be complex and confusing. Considering the multitude of reasons that one spouse or the other might want to enter into a pre- or post-nuptial agreement, it's imperative to follow the law and have legal advice of one's own choosing.

Source: revisor.mn.gov, "519.11 Antenuptial and Postnuptial Contracts," accessed on Mar. 3, 2015

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