On review from the Court of Appeals.
Dwight L. Schwab, Portland, argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the briefs were Hutchinson, Schwab, Burdick & Hilton, Portland.
Edward I. Engel, Portland, argued the cause for respondent. With him on the briefs were Goldsmith, Siegel & Engel, Portland.
Denecke, Justice. O'Connell, Chief Justice, and McAllister, Tongue, Howell and Bryson, Justices.
In Reiling v. Reiling, 256 Or 448, 474 P2d 327 (1970), we held invalid an antenuptial agreement which provided that the wife would be paid no alimony. We now are called upon to decide whether to adhere to that decision and whether that decision also requires us to hold invalid an antenuptial agreement providing that the wife is to receive $500 per month alimony.
The trial court distinguished Reiling v. Reiling, supra (256 Or 448), and held the agreement valid. The
Court of Appeals did not believe Reiling could be distinguished and held the agreement invalid. Unander v. Unander, 10 Or App 100, 498 P2d 807 (1971). We granted review.
We have concluded that we were incorrect in our decision in Reiling v. Reiling, supra (256 Or 448).
The facts in the present case are not dispositive of the issue but are influential as being typical of the facts underlying many antenuptial agreements.
The parties can be classified as middle-aged. Both had been married before. The husband had children by his previous marriage and was making substantial alimony and support payments. He was a man of property. There were no children of the present marriage. The wife had a well-paying position which she relinquished shortly after marriage.
The husband suggested before marriage that they enter an agreement. There was some negotiation between the parties' attorneys over the terms. As executed, it provided that in the event of divorce, the husband was to pay the wife $500 per month alimony, provide a $25,000 life insurance policy, and pay wife's medical expense. The property they each had upon entering marriage was to remain their separate property.
The husband filed for divorce about nine months after the marriage and the wife counterclaimed for divorce. The court found both parties were at fault, but the wife was least at fault and was awarded the divorce. The trial court awarded alimony per the agreement and observed that except for the agreement, ...