Survey reveals increase in the number of millennials requesting prenuptial agreements in the last three years.
In a previous blog entry, Joseph Balmer discussed the need for antenuptial agreements as an effective, estate planning tool. In his article, he explained how the mention of the word “prenup” can send a newly-wed-to-be into a frenzy, as such agreements have historically carried a negative connotation and often served as a buzz kill for happily engaged couples.
However, the millennial generation, ages 18-35, seem to be shaking up this archaic way of thinking.
In a recent survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 51% of the 1600 attorneys surveyed reported an increase in the number of millennials requesting prenups in the last three years. The “prenuptial agreement” is no longer a dirty phrase used by those couples expecting to fail, but rather it has become part of the norm and is viewed as a smart and efficient way to plan for a couple’s future.
Whether it’s because millennials are older when marrying and therefore have more to protect, or because they themselves are often children of divorce and are therefore predisposed to shielding their own interests, this new generation is openly embracing all the benefits a prenuptial agreement can provide. In fact, the millennials are even expanding what exactly it is that a prenup can and should protect.
For example, this generation is often focusing on protecting their future creations. Whether that be an app, software, song, film or technology that has yet to be developed, the drive behind a lot of these prenups is protecting the ideas a spouse had before marriage. Say, perhaps, that a spouse has a start-up business when he or she gets married. Because it’s new, it may not have taken off prior to the wedding, but it’s possible that it could boom over the course of the marriage. Click here to check out this post about including a provision about protecting a child’s online exposure. Millennials are now seeking to protect the idea that sparked the business, which in this situation, occurred prior to getting married.
In addition, millennials are more likely to receive substantial inheritances than newly-weds of the past. Therefore, prenuptial agreements are used to protect the interest that one spouse is likely to acquire. Should the marriage end in the death of the spouse, rather than divorce, a prenup can ensure that the family wealth stays within the family.
And just like it is more probable for them to receive an inheritance, a millennial is also more likely to have an astronomical amount of student debt. As a result, this generation is seeking to protect itself from this potential obligation acquired by their spouse.
Millennials Recognize Prenuptial Agreements Save Time, Money, Protect Future Plans
It seems that millennials also recognize that having a prenup in place can save a lot of time and money down the road should the marriage end; the cost of drafting prenuptial agreements are far cheaper than a contentious divorce hearing. Rather than looking at the prenup as the death of romance and love, millennials appear to view it as a smart and normal step taken before marriage. In likening it to the drafting of a will, you don’t draw up a will because you hope to die, you do it to be prepared. The outlook of millennials in dealing with prenups seems to be the same: you don’t draft one hoping to divorce, you do it to plan ahead.
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Robert L. Mues
Robert Mues is the managing partner of Dayton, Ohio, law firm, Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues, and has received the highest rating from the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability. Mr. Mues is also a founding member of the "International Academy of Attorneys for Divorce over 50" blog.