Sure, it doesn't sound romantic to talk about a prenuptial agreement before walking down the aisle, but it looks like more people are looking beyond the romantic notion of marriage and using reason to prepare for and protect their financial futures from divorce.
A recent ABC News segment included a financial expert who says that more people (including many middle-class Americans) are warming up to the idea of hiring an attorney in order to create a prenuptial agreement. She reports that 44 percent of single and 49 percent of divorced Americans think that getting a prenup is a good idea. The following are reasons why the expert believes prenups are becoming more popular:
- The recession has Americans intensely worried about their finances. It is in people's minds today to always financially prepare for the worst, and divorce can often take a damaging toll on one's bank account if marriage is not entered into wisely.
- The divorce rate in the U.S. warns people that divorce is a possibility that they should prepare for. It cannot be ignored that almost half of all marriages end in divorce; therefore, prenuptial agreements are not being ignored, either.
- More women are in the workplace, and they feel more protective over their money. The existence of two incomes and retirement accounts complicates property division in the case of divorce, so couples want to simplify a potential divorce while ensuring that each spouse comes out with a fair settlement, especially if they have children from other marriages.
- Marriage trends show that people are marrying later in life, which means that spouses are entering marriage already having more assets and debts. A prenup clarifies how pre-marriage property and debt will be treated in the case of divorce.
Whatever the reason is behind someone's desire to create a prenuptial agreement, the financial expert insists that that person brings up the idea early on in the engagement. She also emphasizes the importance to set aside a serious time, in private, to discuss the idea to one's soon-to-be spouse. It is a sensitive topic that should be handled with sensitivity to a loved one's feelings and the overall good of the couple's relationship both during the marriage and after, in case the union does end in divorce.
ABC News: Middle-Class Couples Sign on the Prenup Line (9/30/2010)