Prenuptial Agreements: What’s Love Got to Do With It?
Why You and Your Partner Need to Confront the “P” Word.
By: Christopher Casserly, Esquire
Every day in the United States there are roughly 18,000 car accidents. Nobody sets out in the morning with the intention of rear-ending another commuter, but every morning we hear about breakdowns and pileups on our way in to work. Because car accidents are so common, any reasonable driver carries insurance on their car. Having insurance has nothing to do with one’s own ability to navigate the roads safely, but rather it’s a way to protect against the unforeseeable variables that we encounter every day.
Think of a prenuptial agreement as an insurance policy for your marriage- hopefully you will never have to use it, but if ever you do you will be glad it’s there. Considering that about 50% of first marriages end in divorce, a prenuptial agreement will limit the cost of a potential divorce while protecting each spouse’s respective assets should the unforeseeable ever become reality.
Some more statistics to consider: The average age of marriage in 2013 was 27 for women and 29 for men. These numbers are up from 23 for women and 26 for men in 1990. People are using their twenties to pursue degrees and establish careers. As a result, people are getting married later and coming into marriage with more debt as well as more assets. The average annual income for a woman with a college degree who is married under the age of 20 is $32,263. The average annual income for a woman with a college degree who is married over the age of 30 is $50,415 (1) . In 2012, the average amount of loan debt for college graduates was $29,000, up 10% from 2011’s average of $26,600 (2) . Prenuptial agreements can ensure that in the event of divorce, each spouse keeps what they’ve earned while being protected from whatever debts their partner has accumulated, both before and during the marriage. Additionally more and more couples are using them- the prevalence of prenuptial agreements in the United States has been on a steady rise in the last ten years.
A 2010 Harris Interactive Poll found that 44% of singles and 49% of divorced couples agreed that “having a prenup is a good idea.” In the same survey 15% of divorced people polled regretted not having a prenup. Of those polled, 40% who had been divorced said that they would not get remarried without a prenup in place. Once thought of as being reserved for celebrities and high net-worth couples, prenuptial agreements are becoming a useful and necessary tool for couples contemplating marriage.
Even in those marriages that do last, there are several positives that come from having a prenuptial agreement with your partner. A healthy marriage is one where everything, including money, is shared. And that’s the point of a prenuptial agreement- by having an exit strategy hammered out, couples can contribute to joint accounts without worrying that one day everything they have earned before and during the marriage will be cut in half. Having a conversation with your partner about why a prenuptial agreement is right for you will lead toward a more honest and trusting relationship, the foundation of a sound marriage. Once you get past any stigmas attached to the “P” word, you can identify and work toward financial goals without worrying that one day you could lose it all.
To schedule an appointment with one of our attorney’s, or for further information, call us at LaMonaca Law, at (610) 892-3877.
- Knot Yet: The Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage in America by Kay Hymowitz, Jason S. Carroll, W. Bradford Wilcox, and Kelleen Kaye: available at http://nationalmarriageproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/KnotYet-FinalForWeb.pdf
- Institute for College Access & Success, December 2013 study