A premarital agreement is a contract entered into prior to getting legally married. The agreement is designed to set the terms and conditions of a divorce to make the process of divorce easier and to protect your assets. When you enter into a premarital agreement in Minnesota, it is very important that you understand the necessary requirements to ensure that the agreement is valid and enforceable. If you fail to follow Minnesota guidelines and laws related to the creation of your premarital agreement, you could lose the benefits and asset protection that the agreement provides.
Requirements for a Valid Premarital Agreement in Minnesota
Minnesota law refers to premarital agreements as antenuptial agreements and sets the requirements of these agreements in Minnesota statute 519.11. According to this statute, “a man and woman of legal age may enter into an antenuptial contract or settlement prior to solemnization of marriage” provided that certain specific requirements are met. For a couple to enter into a valid premarital agreement:
- Each spouse must provide full and fair disclosure of property, assets and income before the agreement is drafted and signed.
- Each of the spouses who are signing the agreement needs to be represented by his or her own lawyer who can protect his rights and provide advice in the drafting and prior to signing.
If either of these requirements are not met, then the agreement will not be considered valid. Premarital agreements also need to follow some basic rules for contract formation in order to be considered legally binding on the parties. For example, the contract must be in writing. No oral contracts or spoken promises issued before marriage will be honored or enforced by the court. Both parties signing the agreement also need to be of sound mind when they enter into the contract, and the contract will be considered void if it is entered into under circumstances of fraud or duress.
The specific provisions and terms of the contract can also have an impact on whether the court will consider the premarital agreement valid and enforceability. Courts are not going to enforce provisions that would be too difficult, unfair or impossible to enforce. A court, for example, is not going to hold a spouse to a requirement in a premarital contract to engage in marital relations at a given frequency. The court is also not going to enforce policy provisions that are illegal or that are against public policy. For example, no waivers of child support contained within a premarital agreement are going to be enforced because the right to support is a child’s right (not a parents) and because it is good public policy to make sure a child is supported by both mom and dad.
To ensure your premarital agreement meets requirements and is written in a way that the court can enforce, you should have a qualified and experienced Minnesota divorce and family law attorney representing you in the drafting of the agreement.