Are prenups just for the older generation?
For years, the target market for pre-nuptial agreements has been considered by family lawyers to be the older generations. That is, those couples who find themselves entering into their second marriages with children and assets from first marriages which they would like to protect.
However, a recent survey has shown that this appears to be changing. The survey revealed that 42% of women and 36% of men aged between 18 and 24 would likely sign a pre-nuptial agreement. This shows that whilst it is of course normal to be optimistic that marriage is ‘forever’, young people are realising that the breakdown of a marriage may create uncertainty in their financial future.
Previously, the majority of individuals would only consider the possibility of a pre-nuptial agreement where there are significant pre-marital assets to protect, or children from a prior marriage. These clients typically would be older, more established in their careers and have noteworthy assets. It is also arguable that most clients seeking a pre-nuptial agreement would be doing so as they intend to enter into a second marriage, and thus have acquired the understanding that marriages do not always work.
Rarely, in comparison, have young couples in the throes of love contemplating marriage in the past stopped to consider the thoroughly unromantic concept of a pre-nuptial agreement. However, with the economic climate as it is, it has never been harder for the younger generation to buy properties. As such, statistics reveal that young people are taking measures to safeguard their assets should their marriages fail. The younger generation have grown up influenced by celebrity culture and the (sometimes too) fast-paced celebrity world of falling in love, marriage and divorce. The younger generations have become somewhat hardened to the reality marriage and civil partnerships, financial uncertainty and the well-known statistic that half of all marriages end in divorce.
Whilst some may view this growing cynicism as a negative thing, it is not so. A pre-nuptial agreement need not be seen as a thoroughly unromantic tempting of fate for the marriage to fail. It is simply an agreement setting out the division of assets, both pre-marital and marital, should the worse happen. In fact, it is encouraging that the taboo of discussing money honestly within relationships is lifting. Furthermore, divorces are expensive, and whilst pre-nuptial agreements are not conclusive, they are indicative of the parties’ intentions if the agreement is held to be reasonable, and can help to save money on solicitor’s fees when it comes to the division of assets following divorce.