Prenuptial agreements – perhaps better known as “prenups” – are becoming more common amongst today’s couples. There are several reasons why this generation of engaged couples (including the millennials and Gen Xers) are seeking prenups at a higher rate than past generations.
In particular, millennials and Gen Xers are waiting until they are older to marry. We mentioned in a previous post how this is impacting the nation’s divorce rate, but it’s driving the uptick in prenuptial agreements as well.
Not only are they coming into the marriage more educated, they also have the time to accumulate more assets and debt prior to the union. Those assets, including such things as real property, stock options and retirement accounts are generally considered “separate property” under California’s community property laws since they were acquired before the marriage, but post-marriage contributions likely won’t be. They can be protected via a prenuptial agreement, however.
Today’s engaged couples also tend to be less wary of the entire process of getting a prenuptial agreement. Prior generations may have seen them as being unromantic or of lacking trust that the marriage would last, but younger couples are more pragmatic. Many of them grew up as children of divorce, so they aren’t as shocked by the idea that a marriage can end. This is absolutely not to say that millennials and Gen Xers are going into marriage assuming it will end, but they are more open to the idea that divorce is a possibility.
Prenups have many benefits, and perhaps chief among them is that they open a dialogue between the parties to discuss opinions on all number of key financial and personal issues. Many couples put off such discussions because they can be difficult or awkward, but the process of drawing up a prenuptial agreement gets all the proverbial cards on the table. It can also be the best way to avoid a divorce. Many couples divorce because their ideas and values around marital finances are not aligned, and they did not know that going in.
If you are interested in a prenuptial agreement before your California marriage, it’s best that each of you works with an experienced family law attorney to best represent your interests and to ensure that the document you create will be both enforceable and legally binding.