Millennials More Likely to Have a Prenuptial Agreement
There was a time when entering into a prenuptial agreement indicated some level of distrust between the couple or was a sign that the marriage was doomed to fail. That is no longer the case. As more young couples postpone marriage until later in life, these millennials often have property, careers, and businesses prior to walking down the aisle. And they want to protect what they have earned and built. Prenuptial agreements satisfy that need and no longer carry a negative stigma. In Wisconsin, the agreements are formally known as Marital Property Agreements.
Prenuptial agreements – known as “prenups” for short — are written legal contracts that are created by two individuals prior to getting married. Prenuptial agreements list the property owned by each partner, as well as any outstanding debts. The agreement outlines the property rights and financial responsibilities of each person and the terms of property division in the event the couple legally separates, dissolves the marriage, or if one of the spouses dies. In years past, prenups were reserved for the wealthy out of a desire to protect their estate from gold diggers. Now they are used by millennials, and by many other couples, as part of premarital planning.
Prenuptial agreements offer asset protection
In Wisconsin, all property that you and your spouse own while married is known as “marital property”, meaning that it is jointly owned. All income that is earned is also marital. Thus, retirement savings and all other property, even if titled solely in your name is marital. All debt, even if incurred solely by your spouse is also marital. Without a prenuptial agreement, if you and your spouse divorce, the judge will follow Wisconsin statutory guidelines for dividing the property, debt and income in an equitable manner. Usually this results in an equal split of your retirement and your spouse’s debt. If you and your spouse have a prenuptial agreement, the division of your assets – cars, jewelry, land, buildings, retirement accounts, and such – is predetermined by the terms of your prenuptial agreement and you avoid the often lengthy process of having this decision made by a judge in court.
Protecting future earnings and debt
Prenuptial agreements can also be used to protect future income. In today’s startup culture, an idea can become an overnight success, or a business venture the next big thing, and spouses want to protect their ideas. In addition to protecting potential earnings, premarital agreements are also used to address student loan debt by articulating how each spouse’s loan debt is handled if they separate or divorce.
Wondering if a prenuptial agreement is right for you? We can help
Marriage is a big step. Sharing a life – and one’s possessions – with another person may give you concern. We can help. The family lawyers at Bandle & Zaeske, LLP, understand the personal nature of marriage and the challenges it presents. Our dedicated team is skilled and experienced in counseling couples in all family matters, and knowledgeable of prenuptial agreements that are in accordance with Wisconsin law. We are available to meet with you for a complimentary consultation at our Milwaukee office to discuss whether a prenuptial agreement is right for you and your partner. Contact a member of our team at 414-359-142 or online to schedule an appointment.