Why would I need a Prenup?

The Top 5 reasons to make sure you have an Antenuptial Agreement (Prenup) before you get married.

A prenuptial agreement, or antenuptial agreement as they are called in Minnesota, is a contract between two individuals who are planning to be married. The antenuptial agreement can be as broad or narrow as the partners would like and will provide for how certain issues will be resolved in the event of the divorce and/or death of either partner. In Minnesota, if either partner dies or the parties divorce without an antenuptial agreement (or a will in the case of death), Minnesota Statute and the courts will determine how the estate (including marital and non-marital assets) will be dispersed and will also decide how the issue of spousal maintenance will be handled.

Some people fear it is unromantic to have an antenuptial agreement but in reality there are a number of practical reasons a person should consider entering into an antenuptial agreement prior to his/her marriage. Following are the top 5 reasons to enter into an antenuptial agreement:

1. You have an ownership interest in a family business. You and your family want to do everything possible to make sure a long held family business remains in the family in the event of your divorce or death.

2. You have children from a previous relationship. You want to make sure the assets you have accumulated prior to your marriage are preserved for your children from a previous relationship.

3. You have been married and divorced before and want to address some issues that were particularly contentious in your last divorce. You are concerned because you were a part of a lengthy divorce battle in the past and you would like to make sure you do not have to spend a lot of money in the future addressing the same issues again.

4. You want to protect the family cabin or family farm in the event of divorce. Many people have cabins or farms that have been in the family for generations and want to make sure that those pieces of property remain in the family without any threat from a future in-law.

5. You fear the unknown. The process of preparing an antenuptial agreement gives you an opportunity to discuss potential future issues prior to being married. The process often allows couples to anticipate financial concerns that may come up throughout the marriage and not just in the event of divorce or death.

Minnesota Statute outlines a number of very specific requirements that must be met at the time of execution in order for an antenuptial agreement to be enforced during a divorce proceeding or in the event of death. In order to make sure your antenuptial agreement complies with all of the statutory requirements, it is important for both parties to be represented by an attorney in the drafting and execution of the document.