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Prenuptial Agreements Becoming More Common

Most couples enter into marriage filled with hope for the future and could not imagine the marriage ending in divorce. However, at least half of marriages do not go the way the spouses had hoped for on their wedding day. Those seeking to protect their finances in the event that their marriage does not survive often turn to prenuptial agreements.

A poll conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) revealed that divorce attorneys saw an increase in couples seeking prenuptial agreements in the last five years. Of the 1,600 attorneys polled, 73 percent reported a spike in marital contracts that specify how assets will be divided in the event of a divorce. Also, 36 percent saw an increase in requests to include retirement funds and pensions in prenuptial agreements.

The president of the AAML, Marlene Eskind Moses, said that retirement funds and pensions are often the main concern for individuals, as they are often their most substantial asset when they are entering into marriage. When there is a chance that the marriage will not survive, many do not want to risk losing those funds in the divorce.

Moses said that more couples are realizing that prenuptial agreements are not reserved for wealthy celebrities. She finds that people are beginning to understand the value they can have in protecting both spouses. Still, she admits that not all couples like the idea of a document that plans for the end of a marriage that has not even happened yet. Prenuptial agreements can be an emotional issue for those who see them as a divorce plan.

However, according to Moses, more women are seeking prenuptial agreements. Approximately 52 percent of divorce attorneys say they have seen a spike in women requesting prenuptial agreements. Moses credits this trend to increased employment opportunities and earning potential for women. As women have become more involved in finances, they are more interested in protecting their wealth if their marriage should end in divorce.

Resource: ABC News "More Women Say 'I Do' To Prenups," Lyneka Little, 27 September 2010

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