In Oregon, a premarital agreement is commonly referred to as a prenuptial agreement, aka a prenup.
So, in Oregon, a premarital agreement is a prenup and a prenup is a premarital agreement. For ease of writing, I will refer to it as a prenup.
Marriage is the single biggest action you can take that legally changes your rights to your property, debts, and income.
You can’t get a phone without signing a contract. And yet…
No one makes you sign anything telling you that the act of marriage delivers half of your assets and half of your income to your spouse while also giving you the gift of half of your love’s debts.
In my 24+ career, I’ve learned that very good people can, unpredictably, do very bad things.
I’ve met too many pillars of our community who believe in the sanctity of marriage, and end-up spending all of the family’s money on gambling, alcohol, and fancy things. I’ve met charming, salt of the earth folks who just stop working or helping with anything around the house. I’ve met too many people who think they can have their cake and eat it, too (aka an affair).
If you think, “My future spouse is such an amazing person. S/he would NEVER behave that way,” you need a prenup.
No one who found themselves in any of these situations ever thought, “Oh, that will be my future spouse.”
Last week, a couple told me, “We don’t need a prenup because we are going to be together forever. Divorce isn’t an option for us.”
No one getting married thinks divorce is an option. And yet…
The divorce rate exceeds the marriage rate, which means the data says more than half of the people are dead wrong.
If you are okay with the idea of giving your spouse half of everything regardless of the situation you have been placed into, then there is no need for a prenup because the divorce laws of Oregon have you covered.
But, when asked if you are willing to give half of everything after your spouse either stopped working, had an affair, doesn’t help with the kids or the chores, or all of the above, if you say, “Well, that’s a different story…” then you need a prenup.
The Mediated Prenup
It’s a myth that negotiating a prenup is planning for a divorce. Nothing is further from the truth.
Negotiating a prenup means you and the love of your life sit down with a mediator and have the hard conversations BEFORE you get married, which leads to a much better marriage.
A mediated prenup process teaches you how you each think about money and kids and work expectations. It’s a twist on the concept of premarital counseling. It isn’t therapy, but it is a guided conversation about what you and your future spouse feel is fair; not what the mediator thinks is fair, but what you both think is fair. We talk about the hard stuff before it happens, so if it does happen, you know what to expect from each other.
The cost of a mediated prenup is well worth the money and is FAR less than a traditional prenup.
Asking for a prenup is one of the most loving requests you can make.
By asking for a prenup you are saying, “I want our marriage to work and, therefore, I want to talk about how our marriage will look. I am willing to show you that marriage is forever by having the hard conversations now.”