Many young adults don’t even realize that just a few decades ago, prenuptial agreements were primarily associated only with the rich and famous. Movie stars and titans of industry got them to protect their considerable assets from spouses who may want to continue living a lavish lifestyle after the marriage ended.
Today, people of all walks of life draw up prenups before they get married. They are becoming increasingly common — particularly among millennials, which the Pew Research Center defines millennials as those born anywhere from 1981 through 1996.
According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), some 62% of attorneys surveyed said they’d seen an increase in clients requesting prenups. Over half said that more millennials were getting them.
There are a number of reasons why young adults are taking this step to protect their assets should their marriages end. Many are waiting until they’re well into their 20s or 30s to get married. They’ve often accumulated some assets by then that they want to protect.
Many are also concerned with protecting assets they don’t have yet — for example, if they’re still building a business they hope to take public one day or they’re expecting to receive an inheritance.
Women are more frequently the ones seeking prenups now than in the past to protect their assets and income. They are also more concerned about whether they’ll have to help support their spouses after divorce. According to the AAML, 45% of attorneys reported that they’re seeing more women paying alimony than in the past.
Finally, prenups simply don’t have the stigma for millennials that they had for earlier generations. They aren’t a sign that one partner doesn’t trust the other. They’re simply a way to protect their assets and prevent expensive, combative divorces like many have seen their parents go through. Even couples who decide to live together without tying the knot sometimes draw up cohabitation agreements to document what belongs to whom as they commingle their assets.
With the guidance of experienced family law attorneys, couples can draw up an agreement that helps both partners feel more secure as they move forward with their relationship.