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Couples in the Generation Z, i.e., those born on and after 1996, are more likely to seek a prenuptial agreement before marrying, a YouGov survey found. Men and women of Generation Z trend towards being more comfortable with consulting with a solicitor before marriage and protecting their assets first. They are more likely to see no stigma in talking about their money and earnings, specially now that more and more women own and manage their own businesses.
There are many views on whether this realistic approach to marriage and protecting their assets robs the marriage of its romance and seems to imply less than the total trust to their partner in the love. Yet the most important question remains – does having a prenuptial agreement increase the chances of divorce or not?
Poll shows most people don’t believe so
Statistics regarding prenuptial vs non-prenuptial divorces are not available and would be weighed unevenly because those who sign pre-nuptial agreements are those who already have something to lose in a divorce, and the results would most likely bias towards rich vs poor.
According to the yougov poll results, 58% of respondents believe that having a prenuptial agreement doesn’t make a difference on the likelihood of divorce. About 44% believe that having a prenuptial agreement advising how to distribute assets is a good idea. However only 30% would, if they were getting married for the first time, would sign a prenuptial agreement.
Surprisingly, in 2014 only 23% of respondents then aged 18-24 would sign, while 31% and 33% of those aged 40-59 and over 60 years expressed their willingness to sign if they were first getting married again.
Prenups might not affect divorce rates as much, but does affect going through with the marriage
According to data supplied by Hall Brown Family Law, one in four couples who inquire about prenuptial agreements don’t go through with the marriage.
“As opposed to offering a constructive way of dividing assets should their marriage not last the course, they are highlighting very real and serious differences before a wedding which can actually affect the chances of a couple staying together in the long run,” said Sam Hall, senior partner of the firm.
The agreements were serving “a valuable, practical purpose quite apart from that for which they were originally intended”, he stated. “Some of those with whom we have dealt have initially expressed great regret at what happened but later acknowledged that their break-ups were less upsetting than might have been the case had they divorced.”
The divorce rate stands at 42%. For couples in the millennial and Z generations, the marriage age is being pushed back and tend to try to accumulate wealth and security first before attempting to have marriage and children. Many of these generation are also children of divorce and are predisposed to protect their assets.
Prenups may ruin the romance, but does help couples through their marriage
One of the changes in mentality that Generation Z have compared to older generations is not seeing marriage as something worth preserving at all costs, but something that should not cause suffering for both people who sacrifice pieces of themselves towards a greater union.
A prenup is not just a way for a rich person to preserve their money, but also as a way to make sure that the one spouse that remains out of the workforce is adequately compensated for neglecting their possible career and nurturing their children while their spouse advances theirs. In addition, having one is a sign of trust that they are not just being married for their money.
If divorce is so disastrous that the prospect of having it is terrifying, that can trap spouses into a loveless or abusive marriage. In the event of a divorce, one of the two will find their prospects greatly diminished entering into the job market, which would hinder taking care of their children.
Generation Z gets talk about how going all-in with the marriage shows trust and leaves no room but to fight for it, while having a prenup signals that they are entering a marriage planning on its failure. Marriages in previous generations lasted for decades because they had no easy option for walking away.
Generation Z sees that divorce is common, and it is nasty, and they want no part of that for their own lives and their children.
Preparing a prenuptial agreement to strengthen your marriage
In the coming years, the trend will be to see how often millennials divorce, who have a different view of marriage than their parents. They don’t seek marriages as much for financial, religious, or family reasons and see marriage as a means for emotional fulfilment. They respect marriage more as legal commitment with much room for compromise.
In fact, some statistics show that divorce rate have dropped by as much as 16 percent in other countries. The marriage rate may be falling, but those who do get married have a greater chance of lasting longer than marriages entered ten years ago. How could this be?
Many point to how newer generations see marriage as a sign of status rather than just something ‘you have to do’, the increase in education and financial ability of those who enter into marriage, or that more and more choose not to enter into marriage in the first place.
Family solicitors in the UK have hit upon another increasing trend for marriages that seeks prenuptial agreements. They do so not to protect their money but to protect their emotions and mutual respect. Having a prenup means also having regular review clauses, such as having marriage, lasting a number of years, preparing for unexpected events like one of them being disabled or incapacitated in severe illness. Landmarks are set and potential troubles discussed, and transparency and fairness talked out ahead of time.
Generation Z no longer functions on a strategy of reckless optimism in marriage. When both parties plan for how their marriage fails, they also must take in mind how their marriage can fail and how to plan to address them before they become problems in the first place. Solicitors advise in their agreements that before entering into a divorce they must meet a required amount of marriage counseling.
Prenup agreements are not automatically enforceable
Prenups make divorce significantly less traumatic and faster to complete. Prenup agreements can be challenged, which is another reason not to think this is an easy way to get out of a marriage but rather an incentive to work towards preserving it.
The enforcement of a prenuptial agreement is up to the court’s view of fairness. According to Supreme Court case of Radmacher v Granatino from 2010, the court should “give effect … a full appreciation of its implications unless in the circumstances prevailing it would not be fair to hold the parties to their agreement”.
Prenuptial Agreements should also be sure that it was not entered in duress, that both parties had adequate disclosure and required legal advice. The court may also modify the agreement with regards to the contribution to non-economic aspects of family life and for the benefit of their children. Solicitors advise that a prenup is not a predictive contract. There is no guarantee that one spouse will remain the main financial contributor in the future.
But if prenuptial agreements in the UK are not legally binding, then why enter one in the first place?
Prenuptial agreements might not expressly have the force of law, but they do have great weight to the court. For many in Generation Z a prenup is not meant to get the court to protect their money but about respecting their individual autonomy.
It may seem like a prenup might not be “a very British thing”, as some may say, but it looks like that’s changing.