USA Today Says Prenups are “In”

April 08, 2010 | Legal Perspective, Prenuptial Agreements, Settlement

Icon for author Brian Vertz Brian Vertz

An article published recently in USA Today reports that prenuptial agreements are more acceptable today to couples who are engaged than at any time in the past.

Nearly one-third of single adults say they would ask a significant other to sign a prenup, according to a February survey of 2,323 adults by Harris Interactive.

Only 3% of folks with a spouse or fiancée have a prenuptial agreement, but that’s up significantly from the 1% reported when Harris conducted a similar study in April 2002.

Personal-finance expert Suze Orman encourages every engaged couple to get one to protect their current and future assets as well as to shield themselves in case a mate secretly runs up massive credit card debt (which could damage both partners’ credit scores).

More than one-third of adults — 36% — said prenups make smart financial sense, according to the Harris survey. When Harris asked that same question in 2002, 28% said so.

“People are hopeful,” Orman says. “They want their relationship to last. … It’s just natural that they don’t think they’ll need a prenup. Never in a million years do they think (divorce) will happen.”

In 2008, the divorce rate was about 50%. Among married Americans, the median duration of their wedded life in 2008 was 18 years, according to Pew Research Center’s analysis of government data.

Given those odds, “Hope is not a financial plan,” says Orman, who urges that every couple get a prenup. “The time to plan for a divorce is not when you’re in a state of hate,” she says.

Among the divorced, 15% say they regret not having a prenup in their most recent marriage, according to the Harris poll. Men are more likely than women to have this regret, at 19% vs. 12%. Nearly 40% of divorced Americans also say they would ask their significant other to sign a prenuptial agreement if they remarried.

Prenuptial agreements make sense for lots of reasons, especially for people who have family businesses, children from a prior relationship, or substantial personal savings or retirement savings. See my previous post:

Once You Pop the Question, How do You Spring the Prenup?

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