First comes love, then comes … the prenup? Actually, for millennial couples in Colorado and nationwide getting ready to walk down the aisle, premarital agreements (also known as prenuptial agreements) are becoming less taboo. Premarital agreements outline how the soon-to-be spouses will divide their assets if their marriage doesn’t last. Premarital agreements can also address child custody issues, inheritance issues and spousal maintenance (alimony) issues.
One reason why premarital agreements are increasing in popularity among millennials is that many of them are marrying later than generations before them did. This means they have built up enough separate assets on their own that they wish to protect. For example, according to the Pew Research Center, in 1980 only 13 percent of women living with a male spouse earned 50 percent or more of the household income. As of today, that figure has grown almost threefold. The president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reports that, in comparison to other generations, millennials treat premarital agreements with the same attitude they would a business dealing, rather than as a deeply emotional affair.
In addition, over one-third of millennials were raised by a single parent or parents who had gone through a divorce. They understand that marriages do not always last. One millennial stated it is “naïve” to get married with the thought that divorce will absolutely never happen. Since marriage is a legally binding arrangement, it is important to protect oneself legally with a premarital agreement should the marriage fail.
So, while millennials these days may be more likely to enter into a premarital agreement, premarital agreements can also benefit those who are entering into their second or subsequent marriage. In either case, it is important that they follow all the formalities for doing so. Older couples will have more in the way of assets and liabilities. They may have adult children from a previous marriage whose inheritance they wish to protect. And, they are more likely to understand, based on personal experience, that not every marriage lasts. It is best to be prepared. With an understanding of how a premarital agreement can help them, couples can decide whether to execute one before saying “I, do.”