Prenups have a marketing problem – many folks think you only have one if you are extremely wealthy or anticipate the marriage not working out. But the truth is, antenuptial contracts (the formal name for prenups in MN) are an excellent way for people to identify their own rules for how and when they’ll share money and assets as a married couple, and to have a roadmap for their relationship. Parties who are already married may enter into a similar agreement, called a postnuptial contract. Without a prenup or a postnup in place, if the parties divorce or one of them dies, the state will impose its own rules about how their property will be divided — whether or not those rules align with the couple’s values.
Here are some things you should know about prenups and postnups:
- In Minnesota, the prenup statute is gendered, but the postnup statute is not. (Yes, it’s odd, but for now is the state of our laws). For this reason, we recommend that same-sex couples enter into a prenup prior to marriage and reaffirm the terms in a postnup after marriage.
- Parties cannot sign a prenup on the day of their marriage. Contrary to what you have seen on dramatic movies and reality shows, at least in Minnesota, this isn’t an option. We recommend signing the prenup at least a few days prior.
- Prenups and postnups are stronger if each party has a separate attorney. This is required for postnups. It is not required for prenups, but one attorney cannot represent both parties.
- Prenups and postnups require that the parties fully and fairly disclose all of their “earnings and property” prior to entering into the agreement. If you don’t make that disclosure, it may be harder to enforce an agreement down the line because the other party couldn’t know what they were agreeing to.
- Prenups and postnups must be fair at the time of execution and at the time of enforcement. Your attorney should be able to give you guidance as to what is fair, but the ultimate decision maker about this, if the parties can’t agree, will likely be a mediator or judge.
Want to know more? Be in touch and we can discuss how a prenup or postnup might work for your family.