No one ventures into marriage anticipating that it will end at some point. However, the truth is that various challenges can cause even the best marriages to end in separation or divorce. Other times, a partner dies while married. One of the issues that arise in divorce is disagreements over who keeps which assets. Prenuptial agreements help to avoid such problems.
After deciding to get married, people often seek advice from their family, friends, or even workmates. Rarely do people think of consulting a professional first. Unfortunately, seeking advice on legal matters from your friends or family members, and failing to consult a qualified attorney has its disadvantages. Some of the information your friends, workmates, or family members share with you about prenups may be fallacies. Misconceptions about prenup agreements can prevent you from signing one, only for you to regret in the future.
Below are some common misconceptions about prenup agreements and it is time to debunk them.
Signing a Prenup Means You Do Not Believe That Your Marriage Will Last
Whether or not you and your spouse have a prenup, you can never tell how long your marriage will last. Different marriages deal with challenges in their own way, but a prenup doesn’t have to signify that the marriage is doomed from the start. For example, if either you or your partner cheats and commits adultery, you may end up separated or divorced. On the contrary, you may also end up dealing with the situation through counseling and end up reconciling. Events like this are usually unable to predict and having a prenup to establish what happens to your assets after the marriage is a good way to protect yourself and your family from the unexpected.
Signing a Prenup Shows Lack of Trust Between Spouses
When signing a prenup, you and your spouse engage in one of the most open conversations you will ever have in your marriage. Sharing details about the money and property you each have, and discussing worst-case scenarios related to your marriage and your future financial goals establishes trust and honesty. For instance, suppose you were previously married and have children from that previous marriage, it is important that you establish the financial security of your non-joint children's future as well as your spouse’s in the event of death or separation.
Prenup Agreements are Only for Celebrities and the Wealthiest Couples
Wealthy couples may sign prenups more than the average couple, but these agreements are not only for them. Prenuptial agreements can highly benefit even those with no significant assets in various ways. For example, prenups can save you from paying off debts that your partner had before marrying you. Therefore, even if you do not consider yourself wealthy, you might consider signing a prenup for other reasons.
Prenuptial Agreements are Always Biased
In some instances, one partner might try to suggest ideas that the other feels are biased. Therefore, you need to involve a qualified attorney when signing a prenup agreement to explain your side of the issue. An attorney will ensure that all terms set forward are fair to each partner. Additionally, under ORS 108.725, the court cannot enforce a prenuptial agreement if it determines that it is unconscionable.
If you need more information on prenuptial agreements or would like to seek our legal services, contact us today to schedule a consultation.
As part of the divorce proceedings, an Oregon judge may find that one spouse, who earns a substantially higher income, must pay alimony to the lower-earning spouse. Alimony payments may also be pre-determined by couples in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Alimony payments may support living expenses and/or educational expenses for the former spouse or serve as reimbursement for support they provided to their spouse during the marriage. It is always the preference of the court to honor the agreement of the parties, as it saves the court time and money if the individuals are able to come to an agreement on their own. However, the court will determine the alimony amount, when necessary, by weighing a number of factors, such as how long the couple was married, the sacrifices and contributions that were made to the marriage by each party, and the relative ability of each party to support themselves financially.
Changing the Amount
The amount of alimony that you agreed to, or that you were ordered to pay, was based on your financial circumstances and responsibilities at the time, and we all know that things can change. If your financial circumstances have changed—for instance, you have lost your job or taken a lower-paying job—or, the financial need of your ex-spouse has changed—for instance, they are now earning more than they were, or have remarried—you can file a petition to have the alimony amount adjusted accordingly.
It is important to note that generally the change in your circumstances must be involuntary and unexpected. In other words, if you quit your job, the court may not take pity on you since it was your choice to leave. However, there is a possible exception when you take a lower-paying job as part of a longer-term career plan. In these instances, if you can show that you took a lower-paying job in good faith, for instance, because it offered benefits or more stability or better potential for career growth, then the court will still consider reducing the amount of alimony you have to pay, even though it was a voluntary decision.
What to do if You Lose Your Job
If you lose your job, it is important to act quickly and to continue making any scheduled payments unless you have received different advice from a licensed Oregon Spousal support Attorney. Although you have the grounds to ask the court to adjust the amount of your alimony payments, losing your job does not automatically give you the right to stop payments—you still have to ask the judge permission first. Start by filing a Motion to Modify Alimony, or by having your lawyer file this. If successful, this motion can be backdated to apply through the date you served your ex-spouse with the motion to modify.
After you file, the court will schedule a hearing to determine whether to adjust your payments. At this hearing, you will need to present evidence to support the change in financial circumstances that you are alleging.
Contact a Spousal Support Attorney
If you have questions about spousal support payments, or your financial circumstances have changed and you need your payments adjusted, contact an experienced Spousal Support Attorney today.