According to a recent survey of attorney members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), 63 percent of divorce attorneys nationwide have cited an increase over the past three years in the number of couples putting prenuptial agreements in place.
Common items that couples want settled before getting married? According to survey results, the top three agreements included in prenupts are those concerning:
- Protection of separate property: 80% of respondents indicated this area,
- Alimony or spousal maintenance/support: 77% of respondents, and
- Division of Property: 72% total.
Interestingly enough, 46% of responding attorneys also noted an increase in women initiating requests for these agreements. The underlying reason for the increase? According to the AAML, it’s the rebounding real estate market. “As the financial and real estate markets continue to improve, there is a greater awareness of risk to possibly sharing these gains in a divorce,” said Alton Abramowitz, AAML president. “The trend of divorcing spouses fighting over which one has to take possession of a devalued home and other depreciated assets appears to be coming to an end.”
If you are considering having a prenuptial agreement put in place, some tips making the process a successful one include clearly define how expenses are going to be shared and if there will be joint or separate bank accounts. Also, make a decision about where you will be living and who will own the home. Have a detailed discussion about future career plans and determine if one spouse might possibly stop working once children arrive.
Other recommendations are to define how your estate will be eventually handled, and cover any preexisting obligations one partner might have to previous spouses, other children and extended family.