Ready for Marriage: How to Prepare for the Future

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June 16, 2014

Same-sex marriage in Oregon became legal on May 19, 2014 when U.S. Federal District Court Judge Michael McShane ruled Oregon’s 2004 constitutional amendment, which declared marriage is only between one man and one woman, as unconstitutional. Judge McShane based his decision on the ground that, “Oregon’s marriage laws discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation without a rational relationship to any legitimate government interest.” So Oregon marriages are no longer restricted by gender; gay and lesbian couples are now free to marry.

Gay or straight the same considerations apply if you are ready to marry. Before you rush into tying the knot:

1. Consider a prenuptial agreement.

A prenuptial agreement can specify:

  • What property will be considered separate property and what will be considered marital property.
  • How any marital property should be divided.
  • Particulars about estate planning and inheritances.
  • How much and how long spousal support will be paid.

2. Discuss debts and assets with your partner.

Some fundamental questions to ask:

  • How much money do you earn?
  • What are your assets and liabilities?
  • Have you ever filed for bankruptcy, and are there any judgments against you?
  • Do you pay spousal and/or child support?
  • If we purchase a home or make other investments, will these be held jointly?
  • What about pre-marital assets and liabilities, will they also be shared jointly or will they remain separate?

3. Have a will drafted.

One may assume that your spouse will automatically inherit everything, but that is not necessarily the case. By having a will drafted you can ensure your wishes are preserved and also save future heartache and confusion for your spouse during an already difficult time.