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What Prenups Can and Cannot Accomplish

Entering into a prenuptial agreement is a smart way to protect your assets in case of contentious divorce. However, many people have misconceptions about what prenups can do—and what they cannot. If you’re considering a prenup, talking to an attorney is the best way to determine whether they’re right for you.

What can prenups do?

A prenuptial agreement is a contract entered into before divorce. It can:

  • Identify separate assets: Many people come into a marriage with assets, including cars, property, inheritances and more. A prenup can clearly state which premarital assets belong to which spouse.
  • Identify separate debts: Similarly, you can separate debts. For example, you might specify that each partner’s existing student loan and credit card debt is theirs alone, in the event of a divorce.
  • Provide for spousal support: Instead of leaving spousal support up to a judge to decide, you can agree to certain terms before the marriage happens.
  • Protect children from other relationships: If either of you have children from another marriage, a prenup can ensure they inherit a share of the estate after their parent’s death.
  • Make provisions for separate property: Sometimes parents have specific pieces of separate property they want to keep in the immediate family. A prenup can provide for that.

What prenups cannot do

Prenups cannot pre-determine child custody, visitation time or support. Minnesota courts retain authority to determine what’s in the best interest of the children, which may not be what your prenup agreed to. Prenups also cannot designate certain spousal duties or tasks during the marriage: this is not enforceable by a court.

When you need to know what a prenup can reasonably enforce, you need an experienced family lawyer. Call the skilled Minnesota family lawyers at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A. for a consultation today.

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