We have spoken in the past about the advantages that many couples enjoy by entering into a prenuptial agreement before marriage. Should the marriage end in divorce, the spouses will have determined ahead of time how to divide up their martial assets and whether either spouse will receive alimony. This can give the process some predictability, and make the divorce relatively short and painless.
Many people planning to get married may be interested in drawing up a prenuptial agreement, but might not be sure how to do it so that it is legally valid. The legal requirements for a prenup are fairly simple and easy to meet, but failure to do so could mean that your agreement will not be accepted during a subsequent divorce proceeding.
Under Minnesota law, a prenuptial (or postnuptial) agreement must be in writing. Both parties -- that is, each part of the engaged couple -- must sign the agreement, and their signatures must be notarized. Before signing the prenup, the parties must have the chance to consult with an attorney.
For the prenup to be effective, neither party should be able to deceive the other, or the court, about their financial situation. Thus, the law requires that each spouse-to-be fully disclose their assets, debts and so on before entering into a prenuptial agreement.
If you and your spouse are already married, you may still plan for the worst, but the requirements for creating a postnuptial agreement in Minnesota are stricter than for prenups. The law only allows couples at a certain level of wealth to create a postnup, and each spouse must have his or her own attorney. Several other requirements apply too.
Those interested in creating a prenuptial agreement should speak to a family law attorney about it.