Deciding Whether an Antenuptial (or Prenuptial) Agreement is Right for You

Marital agreements are an effective tool for resolving financial issues and reducing arguments over money. A marital contract can be entered into before you are married or after you are already married. Many couples believe that putting their agreement regarding finances and related matters into writing reduces any conflict within their marriage.

An antenuptial agreement (also referred to as a prenuptial agreement) is a contract between prospective spouses executed prior to the marriage. Pursuant to Minnesota law, to be valid and enforceable, the parties to an antenuptial agreement must make full and fair disclosure of their property and earnings, and each party must have had an opportunity to consult with legal counsel of their own choice. The contract must be procedurally and substantively fair. The creation of an antenuptial agreement involves:

  • Deciding the division of your non-marital assets.
  • Handling estate planning issues, such as providing for children from previous marriages.
  • Determining who gets what, including spousal maintenance (alimony) payments, if you divorce.
  • Establishing how to handle a separate business.
  • Establishing no liability for the other person's debts.
  • Entering agreements for putting each other through college or professional school.
  • Determining how any future disagreements are to be settled, such as via mediation or arbitration.

An antenuptial agreement can prevent conflicts and save time and money if you get divorced. This type of contract is a great way to start a healthy conversation between you and your spouse regarding the future.

If you did not enter into an antenuptial agreement, but are interested in creating a marital contract, Minnesota law provides that legally married couples can enter into valid and enforceable postnuptial contracts. The requirements for a postnuptial agreement are similar to antenuptial agreements. It is important to note that antenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements cannot determine issues such as child custody, child support or parenting time.

If you are interested in learning more about antenuptial or postnuptial agreements, contact Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.

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