“Prenuptial agreements aren’t romantic.” “I trust my partner.” “I don’t want to put that kind of strain on our relationship so early.” “We don’t really own anything, so what’s the point?” These are all common excuses as to why people choose not to get a prenuptial agreement, but those people appear to be fading in number quickly, particularly among the millennial generation.
Premarital agreements, otherwise known as prenuptial agreements or “prenups,” have long carried a certain image in many of the public’s minds. However, recent surveys have revealed a rather striking trend when it comes to marriage: this view is changing rapidly, primarily because of the millennial generation who are now growing up and getting married for themselves.
According to a recent survey from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), the majority of family law attorneys noted that more millennials were requesting assistance with prenuptial agreements than in years past. According to the press release about the survey, “The top three items most commonly covered by [Premarital Agreements] were cited as ‘protection of separate property’ by 78% of respondents, ‘alimony/spousal maintenance’ at 74% and ‘division of property’ with a 68% total.”
Greater Asset Protection
Why this sudden change? In the past, many people have associated prenuptial agreements with older couples or couples with large disparities in wealth and income at the outset of their marriage. However, today’s climate has pushed many millennials to focus heavily on their careers, and as a result many are choosing to delay getting married.
As a result, they’re older when they do, and many are wealthier and have more assets to their name when tying the knot. This means that spouses are often entering marriage with greater savings, stronger retirement accounts, and a desire to protect those savings in the event of a later separation.
Stronger Definition of Marital Guidelines
Prenuptial agreements can seat clear guidelines for more than just who owns what if the marriage should dissolve—they can also define how married life will proceed. Millennials that have lived independent lives also use prenuptial agreements to set guidelines for how marital finances will be handled once it’s time to combine finances. Similarly, Prenups can also be used to protect spouses by making clear who owes what debts heading into a marriage. If one spouse has accumulated a significant amount of debt, either by student loans, credit cards, or any other source, a premarital agreement can ensure that the spouse who brought it into the marriage remains responsible for it if things take a turn for the worst.
Prenuptial agreements can also define whether or not spouses will waive the right to seek spousal support or alimony should the marriage dissolve. If they don’t waive the right, a prenuptial agreement can even lay out a predetermined amount of such support. Going a step further, these agreements can also dictate how marital property is split beyond simple financial matters—they can define who owns things like the house, cars, rare artwork, and other physical possessions, including some of such things which may be brought into the marriage.
Ultimately, Premarital Agreements serve as helpful planning tool that many millennials now find attractive to protect their assets and establish a clear financial plan heading into a marriage.
To learn more about obtaining a premarital agreement, speak with a North Carolina family law attorney about preparing or reviewing one by calling Miller Bowles Cushing, PLLC at (704) 810-1400 to schedule a consultation.Sources: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/06/smarter-living/millennial-prenup-weddings-money.html ; http://aaml.org/about-the-academy/press/press-releases/prenuptial-agreements-rise-finds-survey