By The Law Offices of Ronald H. Kauffman of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Agreements on Friday, October 30, 2015.

A recent survey of divorce lawyers shows that more than 60% cite an increase in prenuptial agreements. What’s behind the uptick?

I’ve posted about the importance of prenuptial agreements before. Yet only 5 to 10% of marrying Americans get prenuptial agreements. Recently, the Wall Street Journal ran an article worth talking about.

People forget that prenups are not just about how assets are divided in a divorce. Prenuptial agreements also can determine who gets what when one spouse dies.

Although 50% of marriages end in divorce, but of those that don’t, 100% end in death. In either case, assets have to be distributed. Prenuptial agreements can prevent heartache and wasting money to distribute those assets.

Two big reasons prevent people from asking for prenuptial agreements:

(1) Many couples feel a prenup predicts doom. It almost feels like you’re planning to fail. Most people are optimistic about their marriages, and think that requesting a prenuptial agreement would signal uncertainty.

(2) Many couples also believe that, in spite of the statistics showing that more than half of all marriages end in divorce, it won’t happen to them. Statistically, most think their own chance of divorcing is about 12%.

However, prenups provide certainty and protections beyond the law:

A prenup protects your premarital assets from a claim by your spouse in the event of death or divorce. In Florida, assets that you owned before marriage aren’t subject to a claim in a divorce – but increases in value could be.

In the event of your death, even if you don’t make a provision in your will for your spouse, Florida law may give your spouse certain rights to a share of your estate.

If your premarital assets are significant, you can ensure that your spouse will share in it only as much as you wish should you divorce or die. This protects you and the inheritance of your children from a prior relationship.

Prenups protect your income earned during the marriage. For instance, without a prenuptial agreement, you could have to pay alimony to your ex-spouse. An agreement can set that amount – or eliminate it.

Currently there are two Florida bills aimed to eliminate permanent alimony, and reduce long-term alimony. This hurts traditional couples in which one spouse left the workforce. Agreeing in advance about how to divide assets earned or future earnings can protect the stay-at-home spouse.

More couples are entering prenuptial agreements because they think they will actually strengthen their marriages. Providing couples with protection from the unknown outweighs the pain of talking about these issues before the wedding.

The Wall Street Journal article is here.

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