A Guide to Oregon Prenuptial Agreements
January 25th, 2023
Most people are familiar with prenuptial agreements. Commonly referred to as “prenups,” many might think that these contracts are only for celebrities and the ultra-wealthy. However, this is not correct — a prenuptial agreement is a crucial legal tool that can be used by anyone who wishes to have control over their assets and property in the event of divorce. Oregon prenuptial agreements can also be used in connection with an estate plan to ensure one’s future wishes are carried out according to their goals.
What is a Prenuptial Agreement?A prenuptial agreement is a type of contract that parties enter into before they get married. Generally, it distinguishes marital property versus separate property, determines how property will be divided if the marriage does not work out, and resolves the issue of who will be responsible for debts. In addition to controlling the distribution of property and assets, a prenup can also decide whether spousal support will be paid after divorce and other financial issues under certain circumstances
What are the Requirements for an Enforceable Prenuptial Agreement?Every Oregon prenuptial agreement is governed by the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA), which was adopted in 1987 and is codified under ORS 108.700–108.740. The UPAA outlines certain requirements that must be met in order for a prenup to be valid and enforceable. Under the Oregon prenup laws, a prenuptial agreement must be in writing — an oral agreement made between the parties is not legally enforceable. The agreement does not have to be witnessed, but it must be signed by both parties. It becomes effective upon marriage and can only be revoked or amended by written agreement between the spouses. Additionally, full financial disclosure by both parties is required before signing a prenup. This allows a couple to have a full picture of each other’s financial situation and a thorough understanding of the assets each owns. If an agreement is made without full disclosure or a spouse withheld information, the document may be deemed invalid if it is later brought into court to be enforced.
What Provisions Should an Oregon Prenuptial Agreement Include?Prenups can vary widely, depending upon the specific financial circumstances of the future spouses and their objectives. An Oregon prenuptial agreement can include almost any provisions when it comes to financial matters, as long as they aren’t unconscionable, go against state law, or violate public policy. They typically cover the following issues:
- The rights of each spouse to separate or marital property
- The rights of each spouse to buy, sell, trade, or transfer property
- How assets will be divided in divorce
- Who will own or manage the family business in the event of divorce
- Spousal support matters
- How inheritances acquired during the marriage should be treated
- Pet custody matters
- Property distribution upon the death of a spouse