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Do I need an attorney for a Minnesota prenuptial agreement?

The short answer is no. Minnesota residents are not currently required to have legal representation in order to form a prenuptial agreement. However, the statute that governs such marital arrangements in Minnesota does require that both parties have ample opportunity to a consultation with a legal representative prior to the execution of the document.

In order for a prenuptial agreement to be enforceable in Minnesota, a court will consider two tests to determine the validity of the document. First, the court will look to see if the prenuptial agreement, also called antenuptial agreement, is substantially fair to both parties. This means that the court will examine the prenuptial agreement in terms of its fairness. For example, a court may determine that a very young wife with little money coming into the marriage should not receive the bulk of the assets and properties of a much older and wealthier husband after the end of the marriage.

Next, the court will look to see if the prenuptial agreement was executed in a manner involving fair procedures. This means that the court will want to know if each party had an opportunity to consult with his or her attorneys regarding the provisions found within the document. A common example of procedural unfairness of this nature might include circumstances in which the document was forced upon another party under duress or with some manner of undue influence. Using the previously mentioned example, let's imagine that the older, wealthier husband suffered from some form of dementia at the time the prenuptial agreement was formed. A court may deem the agreement unenforceable if evidence is later presented indicating that the husband's mental impairment prevented him fully understanding the agreement.

If you are a Minnesota resident contemplating forming a prenuptial agreement with your spouse, you should think about these two tests to determine enforceability. Although not required, the help of your attorney to create and execute a prenuptial agreement could spare you and your future spouse valuable time and money later down the road.

Source: Minnesota State Law Library Archive, "In re the Marriage of: Richard T. Igo vs. Jennifer Igo" Oct. 01, 2014

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