Why the Millennial generation is signing more prenups than ever before

Kanye West’s “Gold Digger” may have had a more lasting effect on Millennials than anyone previously thought. In the song, which reached peak popularity when the avocado toast-obsessed generation was in high school or college, West preached, “we want prenup.”

Now, more Millennials are requesting prenuptial agreements, commonly referred to as prenups, before marrying.

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In a study conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), 62% of divorce attorneys surveyed saw an increase in the total number of clients requesting prenuptial agreements in recent years and 51% cited an increase in the number of Millennials signing the premarital contracts.

“Members of the Millennial generation are particularly choosing prenups as the best option to cover separate property holdings, business interests, anticipated family inheritances, and potential alimony claims,” said Joslin Davis, the president of the AAML in a press release at the time the study was released.

Millennials are getting married later

The Pew Research Center recently released a new set of guidelines that declares which generation a person belongs to based on their birth year. The new guidelines define a Millennial as anyone born from 1981 to 1996, or anyone who is currently 22- to 37-years-old. 

The real reason for the uptick, though we’re not ruling out West’s influence, is thought to be linked to the trend of marrying later. Since 2005, the median age to get married has risen from 27 to 29.9 for men and 25.5 to 28.1 for women. The age increase means that Millennials have greater assets to protect by the time they wed, and thus more incentive to sign a prenuptial agreement.

Millennials are not only the last generation old enough to remember the events of 9/11 but also entered the workforce during and after the height of the economic recession of 2008. Pew reports that the economic state at the beginning of many Millennials’ careers greatly influenced their financial decisions, such as the choice to sign a prenup.

Ladies choice

While the rise among Millenials is a notable trend itself, the AAML also reported an increase in the number of women initiating the request for the prenuptial agreement. Millennial women are asking for prenups more frequently than in the past, according to Peter Walzer, president of the AAML.

“I find personally we’re representing a lot more women who are requesting prenups,” Walzer said.

Walzer noted that the uptick comes from an increase of wealthy women who are looking to protect assets, such as cosmetic companies or styling lines.

A new study reports that the pay gap has narrowed from 6.5 percent in 2011 to 4.6 percent in 2018. As the gap shrinks, there are more women becoming the primary wage earners in a marriage, which could explain why more women are beginning to consider the legal agreement before getting married.

Personal brands or companies aren’t the only reasons that women visit Walzer to inquire for prenups.

“I may actually do more prenups for women than I do for men, and a lot of them are for alimony,” Walzer said.

A separate AAML study reported that 45% of attorneys surveyed cited an increase in the rise of women being responsible for alimony. Also, more than half of those attorneys cited an increase in the number of women paying child support in recent years. These patterns in legal actions reflect the effects of not only the rise in the number of two-income households but also the equality in caring for children.

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