Many Millennials and members of Gen Z witnessed their parents get divorced, which has affected how they have developed their relationships as young adults. Now that they are starting to enter committed long-term relationships themselves, they have a very different approach to the process of getting married than the generations that came before them.
One of the most noticeable differences is the increased popularity of prenuptial agreements among younger couples that are choosing to commit. More newly-engaged couples than ever before seek out legal support to draft prenuptial agreements before their weddings. What was once a relatively rare legal resource used by those in the public eye or with exceptionally large personal holdings is now increasingly common. A recent poll highlights the generational shift regarding prenuptial agreements in the United States.
Younger generations want more protection
When young adults decide to get married, they may want to avoid the kind of messy divorce they saw their parents undergo, or they may just want to protect their personal resources and income. Whatever the personal motive on an individual basis, there is little question that far more younger couples want to protect themselves legally before joining their lives.
As many as 40% of the younger adults and Millenials surveyed recently reported negotiating or signing a prenuptial agreement as part of their recent engagement. That’s substantially higher than the over 15% rate reported by people in all age groups. Of course, even that 15% rate of signing a prenuptial agreement is a massive increase. In 2010, only 3% of couples reported having a prenuptial agreement in place prior to marriage.
Prenuptial agreements are practical solutions
In theory, drafting a prenuptial agreement will help protect someone from a messy and painful divorce process. A prenuptial agreement might even reduce the likelihood of divorce because it helps couples work out their disagreements and establish mutual expectations before they ever actually get married.
Although it can sometimes be an intimidating conversation to initiate, talking with a romantic partner about a prenuptial agreement could actually be a sign of thoughtfulness and true commitment to the success of the relationship. Discussing prenuptial agreements and other legal matters before getting married can help couples start the next phase of their relationship in truly thoughtful ways.