Some people in Oregon might think of a prenuptial agreement as something that is primarily for the very wealthy. While these may be the types of prenups that get the most attention in the news, couples with more modest incomes may also benefit from having one.
One element of the process of divorce is financial disclosure. This means that both individuals must release all information about their assets and debts. One advantage of a prenup is that this disclosure happens prior to the marriage. A prenup can spark a good conversation about how each person views money that can actually strengthen the relationship. This might be a particularly important step if one person in the marriage is going to handle the majority of the finances. When one person in a couple has little knowledge of the marital finances, that person may be at a disadvantage during the divorce process.
Another advantage of a prenup is that couples can identify their separate assets and decide what they will do about shared assets in an environment with less pressure than one in which divorce negotiations are taking place. A prenup may also cover whether one person will pay alimony to the other if the marriage ends.
Couples with a prenup who also have minor children may still have to make a decision about child custody and visitation. These are not topics that a prenup can address. Couples without a prenup may need to negotiate property division as well. Attorneys may be able to assist in this regard. If the couple cannot reach an agreement, the next step may be litigation. While this may be necessary if one person will simply not cooperate, couples may prefer negotiation since it may be less expensive and less stressful and may give them more control over the outcome.