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More Couples Choosing Prenuptial Agreements

Many associate prenups with celebrities and socialites. When celebrity couples divorce, the focus becomes whether there was a prenup in place and how much the lower-earning spouse will take from the other. These situations often involve millions of dollars, lavish homes and fancy cars. However, the prenup is gaining popularity among everyday folks as well.

Prenups, otherwise known as prenuptial agreements or antenuptial agreements, detail how assets will be divided if a couple decides to divorce. These agreements are becoming commonplace for all types of couples, even those with modest means.

A survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reveals that 73 percent of attorneys surveyed reported an increase in prenuptial agreements in the past five years, while 52 percent of those attorneys said more women are requesting prenuptial agreements.

Why the increase? One reason could be that people are getting married later. Since 1980, the average age at marriage for women rose almost three years to 25.1, while the average age for men increased by two years to 26.8. These couples are coming into marriage with more assets because they have had more time to accumulate them.

Also, amid high divorce rates, many unions are second or third marriages. Many of these individuals have already experienced the difficulties of divorce and want to protect themselves and their assets in case their marriage should fall apart again.

Many attorneys stress the fact that prenuptial agreements are not just for the wealthy. In fact, some say that those with less means need more financial protection than the wealthy. Although signing a prenuptial agreement before marriage does not seem like the most romantic move, more couples are taking a practical approach and recognizing the benefits of such agreements.

Source: Chicago Tribune "More couples saying 'I do' to prenups," Jeff Strickler, 21 December 2010

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