Pre and Postnuptial Agreements

Transcript:

The term of _____ in Minnesota is an ante-nuptial agreement, A-N-T-E nuptial agreement it’s a way of parties contracting with each other prior to being married to identify a lot of their legal options ahead of time. It can be very clear as to what property is awarded to which property, to which party, I should say. How income, dividend income and other things are handled with respect to those assets, and even how spousal maintenance can be determined in the event of a divorce.

An ante-nuptial agreement can also deal with what happens in the event of a death in terms of what the parties respective responsibilities are and rights after a parties death.

The easiest answer as to timing for an ante-nuptial agreement is as far in advance as possible. There’s some recent cases that have come out about cases involving ante-nuptial agreements that were signed the night before the wedding party was to leave for the Bahamas for their wedding. That was determined to be a sense of duress for a party because by then they have no real option other than to sign the document. If planning had gone into the process and the document had been completed long in advance those types of problems would not exist.

And ante-nuptial agreement is an effective way of identifying non-marital assets ahead of time so in the event of a divorce there’s no question as to what each party owned and owed at the time of their marriage relationship. So it’s effective as long as two key things are in place, one, that the process was substantively fair and procedurally fair. Procedural fairness has to do with the process that people go through. Were both parties represented by an attorney? Was there enough time to fully consider the information and was there full disclosure?

The substance of the agreement cannot be over-reaching. In other words, the substance has to be justified under the facts of the case and the outcome should fall within that same criteria.