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Giving It All Away

A quick reminder that, although you can negotiate a divorce settlement without lawyers, it is best to run the proposed settlement by an attorney before signing off on it. It is very difficult to modify a judgment and decree after it has been entered.

Although Courts do generally attempt to avoid truly onerous agreements, they also give substantial deference to parties to forge their own settlements, even if those settlements give substantially more to one of the parties, so long as the parties indicate that they are entering into the stipulation knowingly.

Retirement may seem like something that is a long way off, but making sure that you address it properly in a divorce is vital. Retirement assets are often used as bargaining chips. It may seem easy to give up your share of your spouse's retirement benefits, either in exchange for a something more "immediate," or simply to get the agreement done, but it can have long-term negative consequences.

Absent fraud, or a couple other limited bases for reopening a judgment, property settlements in Minnesota are final. If you have given up rights to retirement, it is extremely unlikely that you will be able to challenge the agreement. As I have previously discussed, however, if you meet the requirements, you may still be able to receive ex-spouse benefits from social security.

To discuss division of retirement assets, or any other family law matter, call Kruse Family Law at 612.231.9865, or email

trees standing in swamp water.
Failure to properly address retirement assets in divorce can leave you mired in a swamp of financial uncertainty.

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