Three criteria must be met for a postnuptial agreement to be valid in Minnesota. The use of postnuptial agreements is on the rise. The Wall Street Journal published an article on the use of these contracts, noting that wealthy couples are increasingly using them to lay out how assets will be divided in the event of a divorce, similar to prenuptial agreements. The key difference between prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements is that they are made after the couple is already married. Various reasons can be cited for using a postnuptial agreement, but one of the most common is to show commitment to a broken relationship. The Wall Street Journal article gives two examples of marriages involving infidelity or spouses accumulating debt without their partners’ knowledge. When reconciliation fails, these agreements can outline who will be responsible for the debt or how assets would be split.
In order for a contract to be valid, different states require different documents. Therefore, those considering a postnuptial agreement should be aware of their state’s laws.
Three tips for postnuptial agreements in Minnesota
Under Minnesota law, a postnuptial agreement is a contract between spouses who are legally married. As long as the following conditions are met, these agreements are generally supported by state law:
- Disclosure . Those who enter a postnuptial agreement must disclose their earnings and property fairly in order to survive any challenge at a later date.”
- Counsel . Both parties should have the opportunity to consult with legal counsel. In addition to helping both parties understand the implications of the provisions in the agreement, an attorney can review the details of the agreement. The requirement is intended to better ensure that both parties are aware of the implications of the document. In general, a postnuptial agreement that is created without each party having their own lawyer will not be enforced.
- Fairness . The document must also be fair according to state law. Documents that favor one party over the other may not survive a legal challenge.
In the case of any children present in the marriage, these documents cannot control the children’s rights. Child support provisions, custody provisions, and parenting time provisions are examples. It is also noted in the law that any agreement signed within two years of a divorce filing is suspect. The party seeking divorce is required to establish that the document is fair and equitable in these situations. It cannot be enforced unless this is established.
A number of benefits can be derived from these documents. The agreements can also be used to update or change a preexisting prenuptial agreement, which is also known as an antenuptial agreement by state law.
Why a Postnuptial and Not a Prenuptial?
Divorce after marriage is generally not on anyone’s mind when they become involved. Once both parties have wed, the possibility of entering into a prenuptial agreement is nil, and the possibility of using it to protect assets is eliminated. Typically, this legally binding document allows both husband and wife to use money as a means to support themselves during the marriage, ensure custody and visitation, and to distribute wealth upon divorce or after death. Divorce is just one part of preparing for various life events.
In drafting a postnuptial agreement, the spouses must make sure that no provision is unreasonable and unfair to one party. If the husband and wife sign the document voluntarily, it must still be fair to both of them. Additionally, all state laws must be observed or the paperwork will no longer be enforceable in court. The postnuptial agreement may be thrown out if there are any violations of the state’s laws. Disallowed provisions occur primarily when wealth is distributed. In the event of one spouse’s death, the other should receive monetary support from the estate and additional support for any children of the marriage.
Legal Support with Postnuptial Agreements and Enforceability
In order to ensure that the state laws are adhered to, both parties must seek the advice and assistance of a lawyer in creating the legal document between the couple. In the event of a violation, severe consequences may result, and an estate lawyer can explain the matter further for both parties.