Millennials Need Prenups Too!!

In an era dominated by “likes,” “swipes,” and “emojis,” it is difficult to see Millennials as a generation of pragmatists. Every Instagram post and Snapchat story appears to tell the world that they are singularly focused on their public image and avocado toast. However, we Millennials are not the myopic gaggle that the older generations perceive. In fact, we increasingly demonstrate a commanding sense of financial security as we launch from the precipice of adulthood.

A recent study conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers concluded that 62% of divorce attorneys surveyed have seen a spike in the number of clients requesting and signing prenuptial agreements. Accordingly, Millennials understand a financial reality that was once eschewed by past generations – marriage is as much a business transaction as it is a union of love.

It would be ludicrous for two companies to merge without executing a merger agreement that delineates each entity’s respective rights, obligations, and liabilities in the event of a dissolution. Similarly, it would be equally unwise for two soon-to-be spouses to merge their finances without signing a prenuptial agreement that details each individual’s entitlements and responsibilities in the event of a divorce. After experiencing the hardships of the Great Recession and a national divorce rate that consistently hovers between 40% and 50%, Millennials have internalized the need to safeguard their financial security before turmoil strikes.

Why has there been this demonstrable shift amongst Millennials towards ensuring economic protections? First and foremost, they are delaying marriage to establish their careers. By marrying later in life, more Millennials are entering into marriages with more assets than their parents owned when they said “I do.” Prenuptial Agreements can guarantee that the 401(k), stock options, real estate, or inheritance that each Millennial has acquired before marriage or will receive in the future remains his/her separate property.

Additionally, prenuptial agreements can address alimony issues. For example, if one spouse earns significantly more income than his/her partner, prenuptial agreements can protect that spouse against a future spousal support obligation.

More women are climbing the corporate ladder than ever before. Attorneys are reporting that more women are paying alimony to their former spouses after divorce than in previous years. As such, women are increasingly interested in protecting their income and assets. As the battle for equal pay continues, female Millennials understand the value of protecting the economic gains that they fight to obtain.

Millennials are also saddled with historic amounts of student debt. Prenuptial Agreements can ensure that either spouse is not obligated to contribute towards the other’s debt on an on-going basis.

Matrimonial litigation can be costly and ugly, and spouses often let it devolve into a state of war. Sun Tzu said that “the supreme art of war is to subdue the adversary without fighting.” Although harsh and unpleasant, this adage rings true for a generation that has suffered economic hardships. Millennials’ life experiences have created both the need and desire to protect themselves financially and minimize conflict in the event of divorce. Prenuptial agreements can help divorcing spouses avoid such conflict. Thus, Millennials recognize the duplicity inherent in every marriage: it is a business transaction as well as a union of the heart.

Simply put, Millennials need prenups to ensure their fiscal security. It is easier and more advantageous to guarantee this safety before marriage, when that union of love is resilient and strong. We Millennials recognize this truth, and seek to plan accordingly. Give credit to our generation. We celebrate pragmatism as much as we revere that Instagram-worthy mountaintop view.

By Aaron Cohen. To contact the author, email Aaron