The prenup jokes have been around as long as there have been prenups. "What do you get for a woman who has everything? A prenup." A Hollywood divorce attorney once said a celebrity who doesn't draw up a prenuptial agreement needs a psychiatrist, not a lawyer.
However, for many couples looking to get married, a prenup can be a very serious safeguard in case the marriage does not last.
For those not in the know, a prenup is a prenuptial agreement between spouses that often spells out how property will be divided in the event the marriage fails. The agreement can go beyond property division and finances, as just about anything is fair game -- though you can't limit child support, child custody and visitation.
More people are getting them
According to a recent CNBC article, 62 percent of lawyers polled have seen an increase in the total number of clients who are seeking prenups during the past three years. That represents a fivefold increase in prenuptial agreements over the past 20 years.
The reasons why
The reasons given for the increase in prenups, a practical document in these days of rising divorce rates, include:
- Millennials: For the generation born after 1981, there is a larger focus on waiting for marriage. They are often putting career first and that means entering marriage with more assets. It may be employer stock options or a 401(k), but they want to retain their assets if the marriage crumbles.
- Increased debt: Many people entering marriage today are doing so with student loan debt or other kinds of debt. It's estimated that 69 percent of graduates will have student loan debt. The prenup can be a protection from the partner's debt.
- Life experience: Many millennials are from divorced families and they are more conditioned to protect their interests than those from non-divided homes.
Lifestyle prenups are also on the rise
So-called "lifestyle clauses" are also on the rise in prenuptial agreements. These clauses can certainly be bizarre, yet they hold the potential to strengthen a marriage as well. Some of the clauses you may wish to consider adding to your prenup include:
- Social media limits: We all know how Twitter and Instagram can take over our free time, but some couples want to avoid that happening to their marriage.
- Schooling clause: Maybe she wants a private school, while you think public school was good enough for me. Getting on the same page now may save strain on the marriage later.
- Smoking clause: If one of you smokes and the other doesn't, setting up some ground rules can be a good idea.
- Sports-watching clause: Much like the social media clause, it is thought that putting limits on watching sports could strengthen a marriage.
- In-laws clause: Families, even with the best intentions, can add considerable stress to a relationship. Setting a few parameters around family visits can prevent your mother-in-law from permanently moving into your home office.
- Infidelity clause: There could be a monetary penalty spelled out for infidelity under this clause.
No matter what you put in the agreement, having an No matter what you put in the agreement, having an experienced family law attorneycan help you craft a prenuptial agreement that will protect your interests and possibly strengthen your coming marriage.