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What is a Postnuptial Agreement and How Can It Benefit You?

Most people are familiar with the concept of a prenuptial agreement (called an antenuptial agreement in Minnesota). It’s a contract developed and signed before a marriage that includes some stipulations for how each party will handle issues like finances, assets and dispute resolution in the event of a divorce.

A slightly less-common contract is a postnuptial agreement, which works similarly to an antenuptial agreement and has the same benefits. The only big difference is that it’s signed after the marriage has commenced.

As a general rule, a postnuptial agreement must meet all the following criteria to be considered valid:

  • The agreement was written and signed by both spouses in the presence of a notary
  • The agreement was entirely voluntary and not the result of threats, deception, coercion or force
  • The agreement is fair and not inherently one-sided or unconscionable
  • Both spouses fully disclosed information regarding their income, assets, property and debts

When to consider a postnuptial agreement

Postnuptial agreements often arise as a result of one spouse’s bad behavior or financial recklessness. Even if the marriage is going well, couples might decide a postnuptial agreement can help them form better definitions about who owns what, who has which financial responsibilities and who has which rights to a family business.

Postnuptial agreements can also be used to address issues that arise in antenuptial agreements, such as:

  • Who will pay spousal maintenance (sometimes referred to as alimony) in the event of a divorce
  • Which spouse would keep which pieces of property in a hypothetical property division process
  • Which spouse will be responsible for marital debts in the event of a divorce

For further advice on creating a postnuptial agreement, contact a knowledgeable Minnesota family law attorney with Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.

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