As the New York Times reports, these days, millennials are being credited with the recent spike in prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements. With the wedding season in full swing, the rise of a new prenup crowd could mean the downfall of the stigma typically associated with them.
According to a study by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 62% of attorneys surveyed saw an uptick in requests for prenuptial agreements, with 51% citing an increase in millennials asking for the protection.
One likely reason: The Generation Y crowd is marrying later than previous generations, with years to build up assets and debt on their own. The term Millennials refers to the generation of people born between the early 1980s and 1990s. The Millennial Generation is also known as Generation Y, because it comes after Generation X — those people between the early 1960s and the 1980s.
That new approach of Millennials accounts for the changing role of women in the work force, too. In 1980, just 13 percent of women who lived with a male partner earned at least half the couple’s income — today, that number has nearly tripled.
So, while prenups traditionally protected the party with money — which often was the man, and which often led to resentment — millennials usually tackle the agreements as a team.
I’ve written about prenuptial agreements before. A prenuptial agreement (or “prenup” for short) is a contract between people intending to marry. A prenup determines spousal rights when the marriage ends by death or divorce. This can be especially important in second marriages.
If you divorce without a prenup, your property rights are determined under state law, and a spouse may have a claim to alimony while the suit for divorce is pending and after entry of a judgment.
That’s where prenups come in. Prospective spouses may limit or expand state laws by an agreement. Prenups are also used to protect the interests of children from a prior marriage, and to avoid a contested divorce. Prenups can be a reliable guide down rough rivers if they’re done right.
Another factor in the rise of the new prenup crowd could be practicality, as more than one-third of millennials grew up with single or divorced parents. Though it’s easy to think of a prenuptial agreement as a “divorce contract,” many legal and financial experts view it as a smart business move.
“It’s such a good idea to go into the marriage understanding that — while it’s first
Several reasons you may want a prenup include:
- Own property or a business
- Have children from a previous relationship, or have been married before
- Plan to take time off to raise children
- Hold significant debt
- Have robust retirement accounts
- Will receive stock options during your marriage
- Feel that a prenup might be a good fit for you? Here’s how to get started.
- Talk to your partner, sooner rather than later. By starting early, you’ll allow time for multiple discussions — and prevent your fiancé from feeling forced or rushed into something he or she doesn’t understand or agree with.
When you hire a lawyer to complete your prenup, he or she will request all your financials — bank and investment accounts, tax returns, insurance policies, debts — so it’s wise to start compiling that information now.
And, though it might seem like a headache, getting a clear picture of your finances is always a good idea — especially before you merge your life with someone else’s. One thing you must omit: issues of custody or support for future children, as those decisions are made in the best interest of the child at the time.
Ready to make it official? You and your betrothed will each need to hire a lawyer. Depending on the level of complexity and negotiation, legal representation for a prenuptial agreement can cost $2,500 and up.
As long as you work with your fiancé in a team, a prenup can bring you closer together — rather than further apart.
The New York Times article is here.