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Minnesota prenuptial agreements can protect assets

As much as Minnesotans plan and work toward a successful marriage, the reality is that only 50% of marriages have a shot at making it last. There are obviously things that each couple can do to build a stronger relationship, but there is no magic equation. One interesting statistic shows that social media may be hurting marriages. A study published in the journal, Computers in Human Behavior, found a relationship between social media use and troubled marriages heading toward divorce.

This does not bode well for a society that is by and large hooked on social media sites. But, with this information at hand, there are steps couples can take before entering a marriage to protect themselves and protect assets. Prenuptial agreements are contracts that both spouses enter into with each other, prior to getting married. These contracts address a number of issues, but there are a few important points that should be present in every prenuptial agreement, in some form or another.

The contract should outline the purpose of the agreement, and what each party wants to accomplish by signing the document. It should also outline the scope of the agreement, meaning what property, assets and obligations are covered under the terms.

Property rights are critical, and a prenuptial agreement should discuss all three types of ownership: premarital property, marital property and inherited property or gifts. Once the types of property are covered, then the agreement should address what happens to any appreciation on each type of asset.

Support can be a major issue in a divorce case. A prenuptial agreement can eliminate disputes over the issue by addressing alimony or post-marriage support plans. Couples can get as detailed as they want under these provisions.

Finally, one of the most important aspects of a prenuptial agreement is the financial disclosure. Each party has a right to see a complete disclosure of the other person's assets. This includes currently owned property and property that is projected to come into ownership in the future.

Prenuptial agreements commonly fail for lack of financial disclosure, but downfall is easy to avoid. Each spouse should be advised by separate attorneys during this process. An attorney can help with the disclosure process, as well as make sure that the document protects his or her client's rights.

Source: CBS Money Watch, "Divorce, social networks and prenups," Ray Martin, July 10, 2014

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