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Prenuptial agreements: the basics part II

In our last blog post we began discussing some of the reasons why a couple may choose to draft a prenuptial agreement. We also discussed benefits of a prenup from both a financial and interpersonal stance. Once a couple has agreed to draft a prenuptial agreement, it's important to ensure the document contains terms that are agreeable to both parties and that, if necessary, will hold up in court.

In the event a couple with a prenup subsequently divorces, the terms set forth in the agreement can help expedite the divorce settlement process. This is only the case, however, when a prenuptial agreement is deemed by the court to be valid. The validity of a prenup depends largely upon its contents, when it was presented to an intended spouse and how the document was prepared and executed.

Prenuptial agreements work best when the terms relate to the designation of premarital assets. While some couples choose to add additional terms aimed to dictate responsibilities during a marriage, a court is not likely to recognize or enforce such terms. For example, some couples add language related to childrearing matters, a spouse's weight restrictions and infidelity. However, the purpose of a prenuptial agreement is not to dictate or control a spouse's actions or behaviors and couples who elect to add such terms run the risk of having a judge throw out the entire agreement.

When it comes to presenting a prenup to a fiancée and executing the document, timing and following procedure are important. For example, a judge may question a prenuptial agreement that was presented and executed mere days before a wedding. Likewise, verbal prenuptial agreements will not hold up nor will those that were not drafted and witnessed by an attorney.

Minnesota residents who plan to marry and are interested in learning more about prenuptial agreements would be wise to seek legal advice. An attorney can assist in the drafting of such an agreement as well as ensure that its terms are fair and will hold up in a court of law.

Source: Bankrate, "Everything you need to know about prenuptial agreements," 2014

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