Our central clients in Iowa are surprised when I tell them that pre-marriage agreements are allowed in Iowa, but not post-marriage agreements. The Iowa Legislature is considering legislation this year authorizing post-marital agreements in Iowa. The ban on shift work contracts dates back to the early 1900s. In the early 1900s, it was simply assumed that a woman had merged with her husband after marriage and that she was becoming one with him. Contrary to the laws of most states, it is impossible in Iowa for a man and a woman to enter into a contract after the marriage breakdown. The Iowa Supreme Court upheld the ban on numerous occasions, including a 2014 ruling in which the court upheld an agreement reached in the state of Florida after marriage authorizing such agreements, and also acknowledged that such an agreement is not authorized by Iowa law. The Court added that some question the logic of a legal distinction between pre-marriage and post-marriage agreements. In all respects, it is advisable to enter into an agreement defining the rights of each person in the event of an end of the relationship. This is what pre-marriage and post-marriage agreements do.

Iowa courts have long favored these agreements because they allow married parties to tailor their financial and personal affairs to their needs and values and to achieve a level of security conducive to the tranquility of marriage. In this case, the couple married in 1989, each previously married and all having adult children from those previous marriages. In 2006, after the man`s health began to decline, the couple made a post-uptial agreement that divided their assets equally. They simply wanted their respective assets to be transferred to their own children without the other spouse having any rights. Shortly after the execution of the post-uptial agreement, the husband executed a will which, after paying the fees, left his children with all of his assets in equal parts. He died 15 days later. However, contrary to the post-American agreement, the surviving spouse claimed his legal share of his estate and asked for an additional amount for sp upon the spouse`s assistance (Iowa Code No. 633.236 and 633.374). The court ruled against the surviving spouse and upheld the post-uptial agreement. The court found that it was “clearly the intention of the parties to distribute their assets and take separate routes.” In other words, a deal is a deal.

However, the surviving spouse appealed. When it comes to estate matters, the law is clear on certain points – (1) a spouse cannot be disinherited; and (2) a child may be disinherited. While a spouse can execute a will that leaves nothing to the other spouse, the surviving spouse is legally entitled to a portion of the deceased spouse`s estate. But both spouses may contractually agree to limit or eliminate the inheritance of a surviving spouse. This is certainly the case when such a contract is concluded before marriage. In this case, the contract is called a marital agreement (pre-marital).