Prenuptial agreements have become more prevalent in recent years, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. The trend appears to be driven by people in their late 20s to about age 40, also known as millennials. “Couples are getting married at later ages these days and are consequently entering their relationships with more to protect in the event of a divorce,” according to the AAML.
In fact, between 2010 and 2020, the median age for a first marriage rose from 28 to 30 for men and 26 to 28 for as women, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Another significant factor driving an increase in prenups may be that about a quarter of millennials were raised by divorced or separated parents, according to Pew Research, exposing them to the realities of divorce. As such, they may choose to sign prenuptial agreements to avoid some of the financial difficulties that can come with divorce. With prenuptial agreements losing their stigma, you may be wondering whether they are worth it — as in, do they hold up in court? Here’s what you need to know about what makes a prenup stand and what could invalidate it.
All finances must be disclosed
In a prenuptial agreement, the future married couple cannot share a lawyer. With this approach, each lawyer can guide an individual through the process of gathering and sharing relevant information about finances. In some cases, however, one half of the couple may try to hide assets.
“Sometimes when a wealthy spouse enters into a marriage, he or she attempts to use a prenup to hide assets instead of protecting them,” family law firm DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC says. “This occurs by creating a prenup that has favorable terms and urging the other person to sign the agreement without fully disclosing all valuable assets.” Without full disclosure, the prenup is unenforceable by the court.
Spousal support has limits
Couples may use a prenup to say how much spousal maintenance each person will receive or pay after a divorce. While each person can waive the right to spousal support, Arizona law requires that adjustments be made if one of the people would have to go on public assistance after a divorce.
This may happen if, for example, one person quits a job to care for children during the marriage. The spouse who is still working would then need to pay enough support to avoid the necessity for public assistance.
A quick way to get a prenuptial agreement thrown out is if there is evidence that it was rushed or forced on someone. Couples should give themselves plenty of time before the wedding to hash out details, especially if there is anything complicated about their financial situation.
“Doing so would make signing the agreement appear to be a ‘condition’ of the marriage, and most folks would feel pressured to sign it so the marriage can move forward, regardless of the content,” Leanna Johannes, senior wealth strategist at PNC Wealth, told Business Insider. “Last minute and/or pressured signings are more easily overthrown if and when it comes time to enforce the agreement.”
Involving an attorney with the prenup process is essential. After all, a poorly drafted prenup could expose your assets. To learn more or for help drafting a prenuptial agreement that meets your goals, visit DeShonPullenLaw.com.