It used to be that couples who sought a prenuptial agreement (also known as a “prenup”) faced a certain stigma. Society tended to think that prenups were only for extremely wealthy people or for couples who assumed that their marriage wouldn’t last. However, in recent years, more millennials are deciding to establish a prenuptial agreement before walking down the aisle. Perhaps they’ve seen how damaging divorces can be, as their parents or loved ones from older generations struggle with the financial realities of their post-divorce lives. Whatever the exact reasons may be for this growing interest in prenups, it’s worth it to consider the benefits of putting a prenuptial agreement in place before you take this major life step.
A Growing Trend
While it’s difficult to say exactly how many younger engaged couples are seeking prenuptial agreements, a 2016 survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that 51 percent of participating attorneys noticed an increase in the number of millennial clients seeking prenuptial agreements. According to the survey respondents, the top reason couples sought a prenuptial agreement was to protect their separate property. Other common reasons were to establish the terms of alimony or spousal maintenance and to create a plan for the equitable division of property. For many millennial couples, a prenuptial agreement seems like a solid way to protect both spouses from the harrowing drama of an ugly divorce, especially if one or both spouses watched their parents go through a difficult divorce as children.
Addressing Issues of Debt
It’s no secret that many millennials are struggling with large amounts of student debt. While a prenuptial agreement typically includes a plan for how the couple plans to divide up their shared assets, many prenuptial agreements designed by younger couples address the issue of debt. Couples can use a prenuptial agreement to make sure both partners are fully aware of the debts each person brings to the marriage, and they can create a plan for how to pay down that debt over the course of the marriage. In the event of a divorce, the prenuptial agreement will serve as a guide for how such debts will be handled. In instances without a prenuptial agreement, some divorcing couples are shocked to realize that their spouse had accrued a significant amount of debt in their name. A prenuptial agreement can protect both spouses from such headaches by providing a clear plan for how debts are handled over the course of the marriage and preventing any unpleasant surprises down the line.
Striving for Equity
Instead of thinking of a prenuptial agreement as a document that essentially assumes your marriage will fail, it’s helpful to reframe it as an opportunity to discuss important aspects of your future marriage. Many couples who go through the process of establishing a prenuptial agreement find themselves entering the marriage feeling more connected to one another, as they’ve already come clean about their assets, debts, and visions for their financial future. Even though you may never end up needing to revisit the prenup, it’s comforting to know that you are both protected, no matter what the future may hold.
Would you like to learn more about the benefits a prenuptial agreement can offer you and your soon-to-be-spouse? Lee Tyler Family Law, P.C. is committed to providing you with clear and effective legal guidance. Call our Portland office today at (503) 233-8868 today to get started with a friendly and knowledgeable family law attorney.