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Mastanduno Law Group Sept. 3, 2021

Spousal Support Can Be in Dispute Despite a Prenuptial Agreement

In Oregon, many couples will have a premarital agreement before they officially become husband and wife. This is often done as a protective measure. One person might have significant assets while the other has less. That could be due to owning a business, being from a family that is well-off, having a good job or for many other reasons. If the marriage does not work out, a premarital agreement can detail how the assets are divided, how much spousal support might be paid or if it will be paid at all. There are reasons why a premarital agreement might be deemed unenforceable. One relates to spousal support. It is important to understand this part of the law if there is a dispute.

Spousal Support and How It Is Impacted by A Premarital Agreement

In a divorce without a premarital agreement, there are many factors that are considered with how much the supporting former spouse might be ordered to pay. It can be transitional, compensatory or spousal maintenance. Transitional is to help the receiving spouse adapt to the new circumstances. Compensatory is to allow the receiving spouse to accrue the necessary education or skills to self-support. Maintenance is for the supported spouse to live the same lifestyle as he or she did during the marriage.

In a premarital agreement, this will be detailed beforehand. However, it might not be enforced in some cases. If the agreement modifies or eliminates spousal support, then it cannot result in the spouse who would otherwise have received the support to end up on public assistance or medical assistance. If that is the case, then the court can ignore the agreement and issue an order of spousal support that will prevent the receiving spouse from needing those services.

Those Who Have a Premarital Agreement May Still Need Experienced Help

Even if there was a premarital agreement, there is a good chance that the parties will experienced discord when trying to exercise it as part of the divorce. This is common in a high-asset divorce, but it can occur in any type of family law case in which there was this type of agreement. With spousal support, the circumstances are critical in whether the agreement will be enforceable. From either perspective, it is important to have experienced assistance to try and reach a satisfactory resolution.


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