The short answer is no. A Postnuptial Agreement and a Prenuptial Agreement are not the same.
An obvious difference between a Postnuptial Agreement and a Prenuptial Agreement is that a Postnuptial Agreement is entered into after the parties are married. Under Minnesota law, this means that you do not have as much freedom in a Postnuptial Agreement because the parties have already received certain rights under Minnesota law due to the marriage. Importantly, both parties must be represented by an attorney.
Why would someone enter into a Postnuptial Agreement when they are already married?
One reason to enter into a Postnuptial Agreement is because the parties no longer wish to live as Husband and Wife, but also do not want to get a divorce. This could be because they do not believe in divorce, it could be more beneficial to remain married for insurance reasons, or for a variety of other reasons. Some couples may choose to enter into a Postnuptial Agreement simply to give them peace of mind regarding how property will be divided upon a divorce or legal separation. Bottom line: there are a number of reasons a couple could choose to enter into a Postnuptial Agreement.
What can a Postnuptial Agreement do?
A Postnuptial Agreement can do a variety of things. First, it can define separate and joint property. It can also define the rights during the marriage, such as which bank account paychecks will be deposited into, who will manage the parties’ income and assets, which spouse will receive exclusive use and possession of the home, etc. A Postnuptial Agreement can also define the property rights and spousal maintenance awards in the event of a divorce or legal separation.
What can’t a Postnuptial Agreement do?
A Postnuptial Agreement cannot address custody and/or parenting time, as Minnesota courts have found that this is against public policy. Postnuptial Agreements must also be substantively and procedurally fair both at the time of signed and at the time of enforcement.