While prenuptial agreements, or prenups, were once considered a marriage move for wealthy folks, Millennials have moved them into the spotlight in recent years. According to a study from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, more than half of lawyers have noticed an increase in millennials seeking prenuptial agreements.
A prenup is an agreement that outlines the division of assets in the event that the marriage dissolves, whether through divorce or death. They often include large monetary assets like houses and investments, but in recent years, alternative “assets” have entered into the mix, too. For example, Maguire Family Law has found that 5% of pet owners seek a prenup specifically outlining pet custody in the case of divorce.
So why are millennials seeking prenups more than previous generations? For one, millennials grew up in a time with higher divorce rates. According to an analysis of data from data scientist Randy Olson, divorce was at its highest in the 1980s, a decade of childhood for many millennials. This trend might make millennials think about marriage more practically. Many millennials recognize that despite intentions, marriages don’t always last. As such, they might be more likely to pursue a backup plan to make separation easier in the unfortunate case of divorce.
There’s also the matter of student loan debt. The average student loan debt burden has reached almost $40,000, and that number is even greater for students pursuing graduate degrees. With millennials getting married with plans to go back to school, many pursue prenups to limit their debt liability in case they take on student loans. With a prenup, couples can outline what will happen with that debt in the event of a divorce. Without a prenup, the spouse who did not take out the student loan could still potentially be assigned some of the responsibility in the event of a divorce.
There are also more women in the workforce. Women make up approximately 47% of the labor force today. With rising earning potentials, many women are seeking to protect their assets in the event of a divorce through prenups. Marlene Eskind Moses of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers told ABC News, “With additional employment opportunities and more roles in making money, acquiring money, keeping money and giving money, women…recognized how important it is to plan for what would happen to them if their marriages do not work out.”
With more millennials looking at prenups, how can you decide if the decision is right for you? If you and your partner are entering into a marriage with vastly different levels of debt or wealth, a prenup can ensure that each person leaves the marriage with the assets and liabilities they entered the marriage with.
But even aside from monetary factors, prenups can be helpful. If you have specific inheritance wishes for children outside of your marriage, for example, a prenup will keep those wishes intact in case of divorce. As mentioned above, if you have a beloved pet that you are bringing into the marriage and wish to keep, a prenup can ensure you maintain ownership in case of divorce. If you are operating a business, however small, and wish to keep all assets and growth of the business, a lawyer can help you write that into a prenup.
While prenups were once considered the “dirty” marriage deals of the rich, these agreements can actually create a safety net of mutual respect in the event of divorce. You can talk to an attorney to learn more about whether a prenup is a good decision for your situation.
Simplicity Bryan is deeply entrenched in the worlds of self-help, gratitude, personal finance, and organization. She’s happiest paddleboarding with her pup and storytelling with a purpose. You can follow her here.
Image via Pexels