The prenuptial agreement (“prenup”) is the subject of the very common, if outdated, fictional trope in which a woman gets engaged to a wealthy man only to be presented with the assurance that he sees her as a “gold digger” that he will eventually divorce (because, *gasp*, why else would he want her to sign a prenup?!). This may, in fact, be the only exposure that a lot of members of the older generations even have to this type of agreement; especially those that grew up in a time when divorce was much less socially acceptable. However, according to the New York Times, prenups are becoming much more common for Millennials in particular.
Millennials Grew Up with Divorce
Divorce is a lot less taboo for Millennials than for earlier generations. Most of them have seen divorce first-hand whether through their own parents or those of their friends. They know it can go smoothly, and that it can also get very ugly. So while no one goes into marriage hoping for a divorce, having a plan to help it go smoothly if the marriage does end is actually a pretty pragmatic choice. In fact, the Times article quotes one expert explaining that Millennials see prenuptial agreements as business arrangements, and they therefore don’t attach so much emotion to them.
They Are Coming into the Marriage with More Assets
A lot of Millennials are getting married later in life than previous generations, giving them more time to earn money and acquire assets (and debts) separately. Add to this the fact that many more women now have lucrative careers, and it makes sense why couples would want an agreement planning out the financial terms of a divorce. Division of assets and disentangling what was earned before and during the marriage has become more complicated. And similar to how you don’t plan to get sick when you get health insurance and you don’t plan to get in an accident when you get car insurance, having a plan to protect you from whatever can go wrong in a marriage doesn’t mean you’re planning to get divorced.
Prenups Can Be Useful Even If You Don’t Get Divorced
According to Divorcenet.com, a prenuptial agreement not only determines how assets will be divided if there is a divorce, but they can also lay out a financial plan during the marriage. Where there are a lot of assets and debts between the spouses, predetermining how these will be handled within the marriage has value as well. Furthermore, the prenuptial agreement can address how property will be divided in more extreme circumstances such as death. This kind of planning can protect children born both within and prior to the marriage. Maybe the rest of the generations should be taking a cue from the Millennials on this one.