Millennials and Prenuptial Agreements

Millennials and Prenuptial Agreements

By: M. Scott Gordon

How common are prenuptial agreements, and what type of people should enter into them? Many Chicago residents mistakenly assume that prenuptial agreements are only for wealthy individuals who are entering into a marriage, but in fact, prenups actually can benefit almost anyone who is getting married. According to a recent report from CNBC, more millennials—people born in the 1980s and 1990s—are entering into prenuptial agreements before they get married. To be sure, millennials have represented a surge in the population of married people with prenups. Are millennials smarter about marriage and finances than individuals in other generations, or is there something else driving millennials to seek out premarital agreements with their soon-to-be spouses?

Increase in Prenuptial Agreements Among Millennial Generation

Many commentators report negatively on millennials and their habits, from use of smartphones and other new forms of technology to their poor spending habits. For instance, an article from CNN Money reported that millennials tend to spend more money than they can afford—and more than individuals in other generations—on bad habits, such as frequent purchases at Starbucks and other chain coffee establishments. A recent article in Forbes, too, described millennials as unproductive. Yet it seems as though millennials are insisting on prenuptial agreements at higher rates than people in other age groups who are getting married, suggesting that millennials are doing at least one thing right.

Indeed, as the CNBC report explains, more than 60 percent of attorneys surveyed said that they “have seen an increase in the total number of clients who are seeking prenups during the past three years,” and most of those clients are millennials. In the last 20 years, prenups have increased by about five times the rate reported by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) in the mid-1990s. To be sure, among people aged 18 to 34, there was only a 2 percent decrease in the rate of premarital agreements.

Millennials Tend to Get Married Later and Have More to Protect

Why are so many millennials seeking prenuptial agreements? As the report suggests, more millennials are getting married a bit later in life, and thus they may have more to protect than people who are getting married in their early 20s or mid 20s. In other words, in the event of divorce, millennials who are getting married in their 30s may want to ensure that they are protected when it comes to issues of property division and spousal support.

In addition, millennials, more than people in other generations, are “proactively choosing to make . . . significant sacrifices for career advancement,” according to the report. Indeed, “about 71 percent would be willing to postpone marriage and 72 percent would be willing to delay having children to relocate for a job in a desired location.” In practical terms, this means that many older millennials have “accumulated some wealth,” such as in a 401(k) or other retirement accounts, or through real estate purchases. And in the event of divorce, many of those millennials do not want to risk losing what they have acquired. As such, a prenuptial agreement can be extremely beneficial.

Contact a Prenuptial Agreement Attorney in Chicago

Do you have questions about prenuptial agreements under Illinois law? An experienced Chicago prenuptial agreement attorney can assist you. Contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC today to learn more about how we can help.