Prenuptial (Antenuptial) Agreements and Postnuptial Agreements

Prenuptial Agreements (also known as Antenuptial Agreements and Premarital Agreements)

Your wedding day should be a celebration about love and family.  To keep it that way, many smart couples are taking steps to clarify their money matters before the big day by executing prenuptial agreements.  A prenuptial agreement of can offer peace of mind regarding your money, marriage and family.

What is a prenuptial agreement?

A prenuptial agreement (also referred to as a premarital agreement and/or an antenuptial agreement) is a written contract entered into by two parties prior to marriage in order to govern their respective rights regarding the possession of assets, treatment of future earnings and potential division if the marriage is later dissolved.

In order to be enforceable under Minnesota Law, a prenuptial agreement between a man and a woman of legal age must include (a) full and far disclosure of the earnings and property of each party and (b) the parties must have an opportunity to consult with the legal counsel of their own choice.  The agreement must be in writing, executed in the presence of two witnesses and a notary.  The agreement must be signed prior to the date of the solemnization of marriage.

A prenuptial agreement must not be the result of duress or fraud.  A prenuptial agreement is likely to be invalid on the basis of fraud if one of the parties (most notably the wealthier one) intentionally misstates his or her financial condition.

Who should consider a prenuptial agreement?

Prenuptial agreements offer legal protections to everyday people of modest means as well as wealthy individuals.  Prenuptial agreements should be strongly considered by:

  • Individuals entering into a second marriage;
  • Individuals with children;
  • Persons with substantial real estate holdings;
  • Individuals with high incomes;
  • Persons expecting to receive potential inheritance;
  • Couples where one partner has considerable debt;
  • Individuals who own a business or have a significant interest in a business;
  • Persons who have experienced a challenging prior divorce and now feel the need for increased financial security.

What can a prenuptial agreement do for me?

Some examples of issues that can be addressed through the use of a prenuptial agreement are as follows:

  • Provide financial security for a spouse who will need to adjust to co-financial management;
  • Ensure that a family business stays within the family;
  • Protect personal assets from claims against a spouse’s business;
  • Provide protection for the inheritance rights of children from prior marriages

If you are contemplating marriage and are considering a prenuptial, contact Swanson Law Office.  Consulting with an attorney who is experienced in drafting prenuptial agreements may save you a great deal of expense and heartache in the future.  Christine M. Swanson, Esq. has experience negotiating and drafting premarital agreements.  Swanson Law Office can help you consider the pros and cons of a premarital agreement and help you tailor an agreement to suit your particular needs.

Postnuptial Agreements

A postnuptial agreement can accomplish the same goals as a prenuptial agreement, except that a postnuptial agreement is executed after a couple is married.   Postnuptial agreements help resolve disagreements and concerns over finances, assets, children, chores, etc.  For some couples, a postnuptial agreement can promote harmony and minimize conflict.

Other reasons couples desire to create postnuptial agreements are as follows:

  • Selling a business;
  • One party receiving an inheritance;
  • A significant change in financial status of either (or both) spouse;
  • A change in investment income

To learn more about Prenuptial Agreements and Postnuptial Agreements please call Swanson Law Office at 651.295.8762 or email us for a free consultation.