Prenuptial agreements are more widely known as “prenups,” a snappier way to describe the contract spouses sign to divide property prior to getting married. It may not sound very romantic, which is why many people scoff at the notion only to regret their indifference later. Personal and marital assets can grow in value even if the relationship regresses. There is a way to protect your rights after taking your vows.

Postnuptial agreements, or “postnups,” are becoming more popular among married couples with more substantial assets. These agreements mirror prenup principles in terms of defining assets, but there are other practical and savvy reasons to consider them. Postnups can allow a spouse to protect himself or herself from debt the other accrues during the marriage, like paying for an advanced degree or investing in a risky business without their knowledge. A postnup can also allow one spouse to secure a future inheritance, or even use the other’s infidelity to leverage a larger piece of the financial pie should they eventually divorce.

What you need in Minnesota

Minnesota law allows for postnuptial agreements only with certain caveats. You cannot use one to impose child support or custody rights. Other elements required to enforce them include:

  • Financial transparency. Couples must disclose shared and separate earnings and assets when signing the contract.
  • Counsel. Separate attorneys must represent each spouse to fully explain the execution of the agreement.
  • Equitable. The agreement cannot be heavily slanted to favor one spouse over the other.
  • Timeline. The agreement is presumed to be unenforceable if either party files for separation or divorce within two years of signing the contract.

Reconciliation might be a wise time to consider the value of a postnuptial agreement to avoid a potentially painful and expensive divorce. Negotiating the future division of property can be difficult when grudges and anger are guiding critical decisions.

Building trust

Preparing a postnuptial agreement can give each spouse a voice and allow them to be heard. The agreement can perhaps save a marriage you have worked hard to build and maintain or build a foundation of trust that can empower and make you both feel secure.

Minnesota law requires legal counsel when seeking a postnuptial agreement. Consider speaking with an experienced divorce attorney who can guide you through the questions and emotions involved in the process.