Although occasionally viewed suspiciously as a bad omen for marriages, the humble and once-rare prenuptial agreement has come into vogue as more and more couples seek to protect themselves from the uncertainty of divorce. Prenuptial agreements among couples planning to get married are on the rise, according to a study by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, which found that 63 percent of family law attorneys had noticed an increase in prenuptial agreements (also known commonly as “prenups”).
The reason for the increase, experts speculate, is that the advancing rate of divorce has led couples to accept the larger inherent risk of intertwining assets. The Honorable Michele Lowrance, a former divorce court judge, says, “I have witnessed too many vows that proclaimed ‘til death do us part’ eventually coming to mean ‘til change do us part.’” As more couples recognize the mortality of their marital vows, so too do they recognize the need to protect their assets.
Other Factors Also Leading to Increased Demand for Prenuptial Agreements
An increasing divorce rate is not the only culprit for the trend. Experts have also suggested that because more couples are postponing marriage until later on in life, each party is coming to the marriage with a much greater accumulated stockpile of assets. The larger the value of the assets, the larger the risk that a court-ordered distribution could negatively impact one of the parties.
Additionally, some suspect that the larger number of dual-income families has led to a desire by both parties to protect their financial independence. Instead of simply being used to protect the assets of the wealthier spouse, they are now frequently used by people who bring similar financial resources to a marriage.
But Are They a Good Idea?
Proponents of prenuptial agreements argue that, while it can be uncomfortable to negotiate a prenuptial agreement prior to a marriage, the end result is often worth the headache. Even if your marriage doesn’t end in a divorce, a prenuptial agreement can be used to determine how assets are split upon the death of one spouse, eliminating the need for costly and time consuming probate court litigation.
Lastly, in the event that a marriage does in fact end in divorce, a prenuptial agreement can save both parties from an ugly court battle and from a further deteriorating relationship – an important factor to consider especially when children are involved.
If you are planning on entering into a marriage, you should consider all of your options before tying the knot. Call Greta Hoffman & Associates at (859) 371 – 2227 to see if a prenuptial agreement is right for you.