Update (June 4, 2018): ATTENTION 2018 WEDDING PARTICIPANTS: Sneaking off to a lawyer repeatedly before the wedding day and then confronting your fiancé with a “prenup” while guests are en route to your destination wedding will likely not fly in Minnesota.
To go all legal on you: In the Kremer v. Kremer case, discussed below after the court of appeals’ decision over a year ago, the Minnesota Supreme Court released its opinion last week on the relationship between Minn. Stat. 519.11, a Minnesota statute governing antenuptial agreements, and the common law as applied to antenuptial agreements that address both marital and nonmarital property and were executed after August 1, 1979 (that is, the effective date of the statute).
The Minnesota Supreme Court teaches us that the statute, Minn. Stat. 519.11, only covers non-marital property. “The only reasonable interpretation of [the statute] is that the validity of provisions regarding marital property remain [sic] governed by the common law.”
The Supreme Court goes on to analyze whether the antenuptial agreement at issue in the Kremer case concerned marital or non-marital property. The majority of the court found that the agreement, by referring simply to “property” in a key clause supposedly “ma[de] it difficult for [the Supreme Court] to tell whether [the Agreement’s] provisions purport to distribute nonmarital property.” Opinion at p.16. Based on this determination, the Court went on to evaluate whether the Kremers’ antenuptial agreement met the common law requirements of “procedural fairness,” that is, whether it was “equitably and fairly made.” (Of course, it was not, as the trial court, the court of appeals, and the Supreme Court all found.)
Justice G. Barry Anderson, dissenting, would have reversed the court of appeals decision and held that the Kremer antenuptial agreement met the statute’s procedural fairness “safe harbor” ( “full and fair disclosure of the earnings and property of each party, and the parties have had an opportunity to consult with legal counsel of their own choice”) (which the Kremer antenuptial agreement apparently did).