Minnesota Family Law: The Value of Prenuptial Agreements

Minnesota Prenuptial AgreementsThere’s no doubt that prenuptial agreements are powerful legal tools that can make divorce easier for couples of all income brackets.

Prenups work by resolving certain issues before the marriage has even begun, clarifying what will happen in the event that things go bad. By solving these problems while everyone is still getting along, you can avoid the bitterness and uncertainty that comes with many Minnesota divorce cases, an attractive proposition to many couples.

While prenuptial agreements can be great ways of easing the pain of divorce, there are limits to their power. Before you create a prenup it’s good to fully understand what prenups cannot be used for.

Nothing against public policy

Prenuptial agreements will be held unenforceable if they contain clauses that appear to condone or require illegal behavior. This means that nothing in the prenuptial agreement can force one party to engage in illegal conduct. This is true even when both spouses agree to the provision. If illegal clauses exist in the prenup it is possible that a family court judge will throw the whole prenup out for being against public policy.

No limits on child support

One major part of divorce that prenuptial agreements cannot be used to solve involves child support payments. In Minnesota, child support guidelines have been created to ensure that children across the state receive a fixed level of support relative to their parents’ incomes. This determination can only be made at the time of divorce, not years in advance. Child support payments are based on calculations provided by the state and cannot be contracted away in a prenup.

No limits on custody or visitation

Much like child support, prenuptial agreements also cannot be used to resolve child custody or visitation questions. In Minnesota, custody determinations are based on the child’s best interest at the time of the divorce. Given this, couples are not allowed to simply decide in advance who gets the kids and when. Instead, a Minnesota family court judge will insist on signing off on this determination at the time of the divorce.

Stick to finances

Though the media often latch onto strange prenup provisions like who will be responsible for certain chores, the number of children you will have, the names of those children or even issues regarding pets, the reality is that most courts will hold these clauses unenforceable. These personal agreements are typically held as nonbinding in a prenuptial agreement and are best left out entirely. If there are some things that are really important to you, experts recommend writing a separate document, perhaps a letter to one another, laying out your concerns, and then signing that.

An experienced Minnesota family law attorney can help walk you through the difficult process of divorce, including offering advice on confusing financial issues such as alimony and helping negotiate emotional subjects like child custody arrangements. For more information on divorce in Minnesota, along with a variety of other topics, contact Joseph M. Flanders of Flanders Law Firm at (612) 424-0398.


See Our Related Blog Posts:

What’s The Difference Between A Contested And Uncontested Minnesota Divorce?

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