Agriculture Law and Management


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Property and Marriage

  • The ownership of property does not change with marriage; she continues to own hers and he continues to own his.
  • Income earned during marriage:
    • In common law states (including North Dakota and Minnesota), property earned by a spouse is owned by that spouse but that spouse has a legal obligation to support his or her family.
    • In community property states, ownership of income earned is owned equally by the married couple regardless who earned the income
  • Upon divorce in states like North Dakota, the court equitably (not necessarily equally) divides ownership of the property regardless who brought the property to the marriage, who earned the income or who received the gift/inheritance.
    • Prenuptial agreement can be entered into prior to marriage to address some of these legal questions.  Personally, I see little need for a prenuptial agreement when young people are marrying for the first time.  A prenuptial makes more sense for a second marriage where the spouses are bringing more property and perhaps children to the new family.
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