Imagine getting ready for your wedding, the prelude to your “happily ever after”. You’re moving along, choosing the flowers, selecting the bridesmaids and deciding where the honeymoon will be and suddenly, out of the blue, you’re hit with, “We need to talk. I’m going to need you to sign a prenuptial agreement.”
The bottom falls out, right? Before you think a prenup removes all of the romanticism, the trust and faith and everything else good marriages are built on, trying thinking about it from a practical perspective. You can be sure there is a growing number of folks who are doing just that very thing.
It’s believed up to 10% of those walking down the first time and up to 20% of those who are going into remarriages are now including prenuptial agreements in their “package deal”. Not only that, but it’s estimated that by 2020, up to FIFTY PERCENT of ALL couples walking down the aisle will be doing it with a nice little prenup stuck away in their bridal bouquets or tuxedo pockets.
So what happened to romance? Divorce. These days, getting a divorce is a breeze. We are far more accepting of divorce and the addition of no-fault procedures make it easy to undo what we did. The result? We’re hovering somewhere around 50% when it comes divorce rates in the United States. Not only that, but for the first time ever, first marriages are falling apart before they even hit the seven year mark. For remarriages, it’s even a shorter duration.
There’s another reason, though it’s yet been put to the test of time. These days, and despite the economy, making it big is easier than ever – and in the most unlikely ways. In 1989, there were 1.9 million millionaires in the United States. Ten short years later, there were 8 million. Whether it’s IPOs, stocks or you’re the next Bill Gates, making it big is realistic these days.
Take “Michelle”, who found great success by e-publishing her own book that traditional publishers wouldn’t touch.
I got the whole, ‘It’s not the genre we’re looking for, we have too many authors signed already’ blah blah blah. The last thing I ever thought was that I’d be able to find an audience in a place that’s first, virtually untouched and second, not swayed by what the big publishing houses thinks society wants,
What I didn’t think I had time for was romance until I run into an old high school boyfriend. We were married fast – within three months – but had I not pushed for a prenup, we probably would have found our way down the aisle much sooner.
She goes on to say that she hadn’t even made money from her book yet, “I’d just – as in days before running into him – published it myself.” The success and money from her book surprised her. The divorce didn’t. But she said she’s grateful for the prenup and that even though he likely wouldn’t have been able to get anything in their state, he could have complicated things for quite awhile.
Which brings us to another reason prenuptial agreements are becoming more mainstream. The divorce laws are changing. More than forty states now incorporate equal distribution of assets. This means the courts have more say in how those assets are divided. Not only that, but the courts can also dictate who is stuck with the liabilities such as credit card balances, mortgages and even real estate.
These days, women are as much a part of the financial landscape as men have always been. In the late 1950s and, of course, the 1960s, the shifts had begun. It wasn’t until the 80s and into the 90s when those shifts had become societal norms and as a result, women gained a voice when it comes to their finances – especially considering they’re not even considering marriage until their mid-20s these days. Men and women both are already building their careers and their assets by the time they walk down the aisle. It’s not even uncommon that 20- somethings already have stock portfolios, houses, significant savings accounts and even retirement accounts.
Finally, men and women both worry about their children. There are those who refuse to pay child support or will spend a million dollars to avoid paying an ex wife or ex husband one hundred dollars in support payments. A prenup is just an added benefit for these parents. Not only that, but a prenup can cover the kids if a spouse remarries. It can protect their futures and college education from greedy new spouses who have their own ulterior motives.
So is a prenuptial agreement right for you? Only you and your significant other can know for sure. But we’d like to know your thoughts: what’s more important – romance of financial security? Have we become a more revenge-oriented society? Share your story with us.