More and more couples are choosing to enter into a prenuptial agreement to define their legal rights and obligations during the marriage and in the unfortunate event of a death, divorce, or legal separation.
A prenuptial agreement is particularly attractive if one or both parties have significant financial assets at the time of marriage, a professional practice, or interest in a family business. Additionally, practical considerations may justify a prenuptial agreement – if there are children from a prior relationship that need support or if a party expects an inheritance or family gift at some point during their marriage.
Some people are understandably skeptical when the idea of a prenuptial agreement comes up. However, consider the advantages:
- A prenuptial agreement is a flexible, largely open-ended contract. It often focuses on finances, but almost any aspect of the future relationship can be addressed.
- If the marriage ends prematurely, the parties can presently negotiate the “rules” that will guide the future resolution of the marriage. A predictable resolution benefits both parties and eliminates uncertainty during a difficult transition.
- The process of preparing a prenuptial agreement requires both parties to candidly and calmly discuss issues that frequently cause strife later in the relationship – finances, personal expectations, goals, and concerns.
Prenuptial agreements are officially recognized by Oregon statute and may also be honored under applicable Washington law. In both states, there is an emphasis on a fair, open, and honest negotiation of the terms of the agreement. It is critically important to have an experienced attorney guide you through the process of drafting, reviewing, and explaining the prospective agreement in advance of the marriage date.