Prenuptial agreement primer

What is a prenuptial agreement? A prenuptial agreement is a premarital agreement. Embarking upon a marriage is a wonderful time in life when emotions are running high and you have great optimism about the future you and your spouse-to-be will build together. The last thing you want is to jeopardize your love by discussing unromantic things like who will be the primary wage earner, who takes care of the home and who takes out the garbage. Nevertheless, there is no better time to talk about your roles in marriage than when the two of you have never felt closer; you both need to commit to marital roles and responsibilities from the start. Therefore, it is extremely important to create a prenuptial agreement (also referred to as a premarital agreement or a marriage contract) that reflects your commitment to marital roles in general and financial matters in particular.

A prenuptial agreement is a private contract between two persons contemplating marriage. The couple generally settles, in advance, financial matters in the event of death or divorce.”Lifestyle” or non-financial topics also may be included. The contract overrides and preempts state, family and probate laws that otherwise would apply. The agreement must be “fair and reasonable”, meaning you both have to offer full and fair disclosure, have separate and independent counsel, and make sure there is ample lead-time before the wedding.

In order to best safeguard your union, there are certain key issues you should include in your agreement. Be sure to review the following with your soon-to-be spouse:

  • List all assets, liabilities, income, and expectations of gifts and inheritances.
  • Describe how premarital debts will be paid.
  • Resolve what happens to your premarital property in reference to appreciation, gains, income, rentals, dividends and proceeds of such property- in the event of death or divorce.
  • Decide who, or if both of you, will own the marital residence and secondary homes in the event of death or divorce.
  • Specify the status of gifts, inheritances, and trusts either spouse receives or benefits from, whether before or after marriage.
  • Clarify what will happen to each type of property, whether jointly or individually owned, such as real estate, artwork and jewelry.
  • Figure out alimony, maintenance, or spousal support, or provide for a waiver or property settlement instead of support (to the extent allowable by law).
  • Detail death benefits, stating what you will provide for in your will.
  • Decide on medical, disability, life or long-term-care insurance coverage.

Some people may be hesitant to enter a prenuptial agreement with their betrothed because they think it will destroy the romance and fantasy of their upcoming marriage. A prenuptial agreement, however, gives a couple an opportunity to share their hopes and dreams with one another and articulate their aspirations. The best chance of living up to one another’s expectations is knowing what they are in advance and finding out what it is that your partner holds dear. A prenuptial agreement can intensify the pleasure of a relationship by drawing out the couple’s desires, promoting communication and enabling partners to establish for themselves the rules of their marriage. By virtue of this process, a prenuptial agreement protects the romance that launched the couple and makes happily-ever-after more likely. A relationship based on reality is stronger than a relationship built on illusion. Getting to know your partner’s position on these important aspects early can help head-off more difficult discussions during the marriage.

If you can’t talk about touchy issues, it doesn’t bode well for the marriage. Asking each other serious questions about how you see finances will save you anxiety and money down the road and might even save your marriage. It is not an easy thing to do, in fact, it is very difficult- not to mention unromantic – to discuss splitting assets and assigning debts before you reserve the wedding hall. But, by all means, do not fail to broach the subject: Remember, your marriage and your sanity depend upon it. One coping strategy is to change your attitude toward the task. Tell yourself, “What could be more romantic than to spend time together looking ahead to the rich and wonderful life we will build together and discussing how we will make our dreams come true?” Set a convenient time and meet in a relaxing setting. Plan something fun following the discussion. Make it meaningful and memorable.

If you choose me as your lawyer, I pledge to work with you to set and accomplish your goals by whatever means are necessary. Protecting and furthering your interests will be my chief concern. You may initiate contact with me through this web site, which is a secure means of communication. Simply click on the Contact menu and fill out and submit the email form in the right side bar. Alternatively, you may call me directly at 503-686-0981. Note that my two offices are conveniently located in Hillsboro and in Tualatin, Oregon, and I serve the Hillsboro, Beaverton, Tigard, Tualatin, Sherwood, and Lake Oswego communities. I look forward to meeting you and working together with you to solve your legal problem.

Prenuptial agreement primer

Prenuptial, or Premarital as Oregon law prefers, agreements are intended to prepare the way for a long and successful union between two adults. It is most effective when the parties to the agreement act in good faith, honestly and openly discussing issues critical to a harmonious relationship. The alternative is to take the lumps and bumps as they come and hope for the best. Lumps and bumps will surely come but the wise couple, especially those with assets, careers and significant obligations outside the relationship, will establish a plan for dealing with knowable issues. The following are key points to bear in mind when considering a prenuptial agreement.

  1. Agreement. “Premarital agreement” means an agreement between prospective spouses made in contemplation of marriage and to be effective upon marriage.
  2. Property. “Property,” which is often a key issue, means an interest, present or future, legal or equitable, vested or contingent, in real or personal property, including income and earnings.
  3. In Writing. A premarital agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties. It is enforceable without consideration.
  4. Child Support. The right of a child to support may not be adversely affected by a premarital agreement. No child should have their support decreased as a result of the agreement.
  5. Valid Subject Matter. disposition of property upon separation, marital dissolution, death or the occurrence or non-occurrence of any other event. The making of a will, trust or other arrangement to carry out any or all of the provisions of the agreement may be stipulated. Finally, any other matter, including the parties’ personal rights and obligations, not in violation of public policy or a statute imposing a criminal penalty, may be addressed.
  6. Effectivity. A premarital agreement becomes effective upon marriage.
  7. Modifications. After marriage, a premarital agreement may be amended or revoked only by a written agreement signed by the parties. The amended agreement or the revocation is enforceable without consideration.
  8. Enforceability. A premarital agreement is not enforceable if the party against whom enforcement is sought proves that (a) That party did not execute the agreement voluntarily; or (b) The agreement was unconscionable when it was executed and, before execution of the agreement, that party (A) Was not provided a fair and reasonable disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party; (B) Did not voluntarily and expressly waive, in writing, any right to disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party beyond the disclosure provided; and (C) Did not have, or reasonably could not have had, an adequate knowledge of the property or financial obligations of the other party.
  9. Unconscionability. An issue of whether a premarital agreement is unconscionable shall be decided by the court as a matter of law.
  10. Spousal Support. Notwithstanding an agreement to preclude the eventuality of spousal support, the Court may require the other party to provide support to the extent necessary to avoid eligibility for support under a program of public assistance.
  11. Void Marriage. If a marriage is determined to be void, an agreement that would otherwise have been a premarital agreement is enforceable only to the extent necessary to avoid an inequitable result.
  12. Statute of Limitations. Any statute of limitations applicable to an action asserting a claim for relief under a premarital agreement is tolled during the marriage of the parties to the agreement. However, equitable defenses limiting the time for enforcement, including laches and estoppel, are available to either party.
  13. Advantages. There are many reasons for creating a premarital agreement. The advantages include avoiding future litigation costs, protecting family assets, assuring interested family members, protecting business assets, protecting against creditors, and predetermining disposition of property upon the occurrence of a specific event.

If you choose me as your lawyer, I pledge to work with you to set and accomplish your goals by whatever means are necessary. Protecting and furthering your interests will be my chief concern. You may initiate contact with me through this web site, which is a secure means of communication. Simply click on the Contact menu and fill out and submit the email form in the right side bar. Alternatively, you may call me directly at 503-686-0981. Note that my two offices are conveniently located in Hillsboro and in Tualatin, Oregon, and I serve the Hillsboro, Beaverton, Tigard, Tualatin, Sherwood, and Lake Oswego communities. I look forward to meeting you and working together with you to solve your legal problem.