The millennial generation has made a pastime of bucking the marital traditions of previous generations, and their affinity for the prenuptial agreement is one of the most intriguing ways they’ve broken with the past. The “prenup” has been around for years, but it was most relevant in the domain of the rich and famous. Now, even middle-class millennials have taken to this once controversial marital agreement. Of course, this trend is about more than just the preferences of 20 and 30-year-olds. It also takes into account recent changes in socioeconomics. Here are a few reasons the prenup is en vogue with the millennial generation:
They’re getting married later
In previous generations, it was common for people to marry in their early 20s or even in their teens. On average, millennials are waiting much longer to tie the knot. The pursuit of advanced educational degrees or professional goals has partially contributed to the shift in marriage age, among other factors. Getting married later, after having an established career, can mean entering marriage with more assets. It’s not unusual for individuals to own homes, have significant savings, and possess substantial investment assets before getting married. With such valuable assets in tow, it would make sense that about-to-marry individuals would want to take steps to ensure their hard-earned wealth is protected.
Millennials grew up with divorce
For the most part, millennials are the children of baby boomers, a generation with a very high divorce rate. Experiencing divorce growing up may contribute to precautionary preparations like a prenup in the event a split happens. They may see this agreement as a practical method to ensure a smooth separation from an ex-spouse, as it guarantees the terms of a divorce are clear should it occur.
Millennials view marriage differently
Marriage is often associated with a religious or cultural obligation. In previous generations, couples would marry to fulfill a spiritual duty, appease family members, and have children. Millennials don’t seem to view marriage quite the same way. Aside from the emotional aspect of formalizing a union with someone they care for, it appears that this generation sees marriage as a contractual, personal engagement. For millennials, the purpose of marriage is to maximize a couple’s happiness by combining their pursuit of similar life goals. In this sense, marriage is a practical, individual life choice and less a sacred duty. The concept of a prenup fits squarely into this world view. Getting married is no different from other major life decisions, so having a backup plan is not unreasonable.
A prenup, like many legal agreements, is not a simple document. It has tremendous implications, and getting it right is critical. At its foundation, the prenuptial agreement is essentially a contract between the spouses. Thus, the prenup sits at the nexus of two notoriously slippery areas of law, contract law and divorce law. Even the smallest of errors may leave assets exposed to unnecessary risk. An experienced divorce lawyer is intimately familiar with the law governing marital agreements and can foresee any issues before they arise. Getting professional help means fewer headaches and stress down the road should a prenuptial agreement be of consideration.