In decades past, many couples resisted the idea of prenuptial agreements because they felt that they were planning for marital failure. However, prenups are becoming increasingly popular. People marrying later in life who have accumulated valuable assets like a home, business and a healthy amount of savings have a lot to lose if they don't protect them. Those going into a second or subsequent marriage often have children they want to ensure are provided for.
However, young adults marrying for the first time are also increasingly likely to get prenups. Members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers say that they've been seeing an increase in prenups among people in the 18-to-34 age range.
Protecting Your Assets and Avoiding Being Saddled with Debt
Some of these millennials -- particularly those in the upper end of that generation -- have established successful careers or started a business before tying the knot. Often they've purchased a home. They want to protect their assets, including retirement plans, investments and inheritances.
Prenups also help protect people from being saddled with a spouse's debt. Millennials often enter marriage with a significant amount of student loan debt. The total for Americans currently stands at a whopping $1.3 trillion. Of course, by the time they marry, young adults may also owe a fair amount in credit cards balances, car loans and business loans.
The Influence of Parental Divorce
Millennials' attitudes about prenups are also impacted by the society in which they've been raised. They've grown up in an era where divorce seems relatively common. Most millennials either have divorced parents or at least friends or family members impacted by divorce. This makes millennials, as the president of the AAML notes, "predisposed to protect their interests."
Besides protecting separate property and inheritances, prenups are often used to detail how community property will be divided. Some people also use prenups to help ensure that they'll be financially protected in a divorce if they've left the workforce to be stay-at-home parents.
Many millennials are no doubt influenced in what matters they want to codify in a prenup according to their parents' experience. Perhaps they saw their mother struggle financially after divorce because she'd given up her career to care for her children. Maybe they saw their parents go through a rancorous divorce fighting over assets, debts and support payments.
Every couple has unique concerns and circumstances. Family law attorneys can work with their clients (each person should have his or her own attorney) to address the concerns that are important to them as they draft a prenup.
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