Pre and Post-Nuptial Agreements Attorney in Portland, Oregon

What trends do you see with the use of premarital agreements?

More In This Category

View Transcript

Portland, OR family law attorney Bill Howe talks about the trends he sees with the use of premarital agreements. Years before 1980, he notes that premarital agreements were considered illegal and void, marked against public policy. The aim was to prevent parties from sidestepping the court’s jurisdiction in determining outcomes in the event of death or divorce. Legislators responded to public discontent by introducing measures like the uniform premarital agreement, adopted by 28 states, including Oregon. These legal changes permitted the enforcement of premarital agreements, subject to specific protocols such as full disclosure, legal representation for both parties, and adequate time for consideration.

In the last five or ten years, there has been a notable increase in the number of signed marital agreements. Initially more prevalent among individuals in second or third marriages with intricate financial dynamics, the trend has expanded. Now, people are increasingly opting for premarital agreements for various reasons, driven by a desire to specify applicable legal rules, particularly in the context of cross-country relationships. Premarital agreements serve to establish the governing law, whether in Oregon, Washington, New York, or another jurisdiction.

This surge is also linked to factors such as frequent relocations, with individuals entering agreements to ensure consistency in the legal rules that would apply in case of divorce. In instances where parties plan to inherit money or possess assets in an ongoing business, premarital agreements are utilized to safeguard these interests, given the wide variations in laws concerning inheritance and business division across different states. For instance, in Oregon, inherited money may be subject to division in divorce, while in other states like Washington or California, this may not be the case.

The once-associated stigma with premarital agreements, reminiscent of the stigma on divorce in the 60s, has waned. He observes that more people now acknowledge the practical benefits and legal clarity that premarital agreements can provide, contributing to a broader acceptance of these arrangements.

More Videos From This Lawyer