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Mediation Northwest

Prenuptial Agreement Mediation in Oregon

Premarital agreements - more commonly known as “prenups” - get a bad rap. In Oregon, we call prenups PMA’s for short.

A prenup, or PMA, is an incredibly beneficial tool for parties who want to protect themselves from the unknown.

When I got married in law school, I only had a few thousand dollars and a car. I thought a PMA wasn’t necessary because we would build it together and I didn’t like the idea of planning for divorce. It felt icky to me.

What I didn’t see then, because I was fresh faced, wide-eyed, (young, dumb) and in love, was that I can’t control the unknown. I did everything right in my 25 year marriage… and yet, I had to share half of my net worth to someone who cheated on me and didn’t want to make the marriage work.

Yep… I didn’t see that coming. Learn from my mistakes.

Here’s the naked truth. If you have the unfortunate experience of enduring a divorce, you either have the state of Oregon determining the split or you have your previously negotiated PMA determine your split. Another way to look at it is this… in a divorce, there is always a PMA, it’s either Oregon’s default PMA (i.e. divorce laws) or your privately held PMA.

It’s comparable to your estate. If you die without an estate plan (i.e. a will or a trust), then the state of Oregon decides how your assets are distributed, but if you die with an estate plan, your estate plan determines the distribution.

Why would you give the state of Oregon the power to determine the distribution of your stuff when you could easily decide for yourself?

Getting a PMA isn’t planning for divorce…

It’s planning for the unknown. If A, then B. If C, then D.

My 24+ years experience has taught me that you cannot, and should not, go through life on a wing and a prayer. I believe in the power and the sanctity of marriage… and yet, I find myself divorced in a way that I could have, and should have, prevented if I had simply had the uncomfortable conversation with my then future husband.

I never, EVER thought I would be on the receiving end of infidelity. I couldn’t control his actions. And, the ugly truth is that you can’t control your future spouse’s actions, either, even if you truly believe they will never, ever cheat on you. Guess what? I rarely meet anyone in my divorce mediation practice who thought their spouse would cheat on them as they entered their marriage. It’s almost always a shock, and, most of the time, infidelity is carried out by the ones you least suspect.

The problem is that many couples do not know how to create this type of agreement in a cooperative, stress-free environment that leads to a decision where both parties are comfortable.

Bringing up the discussion of a prenup can ruffle some feathers, since some people don’t like the idea of discussing the potential for divorce. But it’s important to make sure your assets are protected and you both have an idea of what will happen in the event problems do arise in the marriage.

And the truth is that prenups are about protecting both spouses — particularly if you create your PMA through mediation.

That’s where I come in.

I am an award-winning mediator who facilitates a mediation process designed to reach a fair result for both parties. I can help you envision what your PMA will say about what happens at death or divorce so that you can both get back to focusing on the joy of getting married.

Why Do People Need a Premarital Agreement?

A premarital agreement (PMA) in Oregon is a written legal contract covering financial issues and concerns in your marriage in the event that you get a divorce. These issues typically focus on the assets acquired before or during the marriage, including:

  • Property
  • Education or retirement funds
  • Debt
  • Expected inheritances
  • Payouts for life insurance policies

Even if you and your spouse do not plan to create a PMA, every state has laws and regulations put in place in case of a divorce.

Premarital Agreement Mediation: What are the Steps?

Mediating a premarital agreement substantially minimizes the stress around the process.

Mediation is collaborative, and both spouses have equal seats at the table. With the help of a trained Oregon mediator, both spouses have a chance to be heard and their concerns addressed.

When spouses mediate a premarital agreement, any possibility for negative power dynamics is removed. Instead, the mediator guides the spouses to achieve shared goals, and each spouse’s concerns are addressed.

Benefits of Premarital Agreement Mediation

A trained and experienced Oregon mediator can make certain that this process is fair for both parties, ensuring:

  • Both parties communicate in a helpful and honest way
  • Neither party is being coerced into an agreement
  • The parties discuss conflicts and disagreements 
  • Both parties stay on track and work to understand the other’s perspective

In addition, having a mediator can help prevent hurt feelings between you and your partner during the prenup process.

With the help of an experienced Oregon mediator at Mediation Northwest, you can rest assured these financial issues will not be following you down the aisle.

Contact Mediation Northwest to discuss your divorce options

If you are considering mediation, my boutique divorce mediation firm can help you assess whether mediation is the right choice for your situation. Mediation has a very high success rate and can be an excellent option for many couples at different points in their relationship.

My promise to you: total transparency about your options, and guidance toward the best path for your specific situation.

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