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Reasons for the rise in prenuptial agreements

People in Maryland may be more likely to get a prenuptial agreement than earlier generations. A survey of the American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers reported an uptick in prenuptial agreements over the past 20 years. More recently, there has been an increase in these types of agreements among the 18-to-34 age group, and there may be a number of reasons for this.

Millennials were entering the workforce during a tough time for the economy, so those who have managed to accumulate assets want to hold onto them. Combined with the fact that they are marrying later than earlier generations, that means millennials could have acquired significant assets by the time they are ready to tie the knot including retirement plans, stock options and a home. They could lose half of that in a divorce, and many are unwilling to take that chance.

Another factor is debt. Many millennials have tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, and they may be carrying other types of debt as well. In a divorce, a spouse could end up having to pay a portion of that debt. A prenup can help guard against this.

Finally, there is evidence that marriage is not the priority for millennials that it has been for earlier generations. One survey found only 42 percent considered marriage a life goal.

Prenuptial agreements must be prepared correctly if they are going to hold up in court, and both parties must have received sufficient legal counsel. There are certain things that may serve as red flags that this was not the case. For example, if a prenup was prepared and signed just before the wedding, it could indicate that one spouse was rushed or even coerced into the agreement. If the prenup is found to be invalid, the divorcing couple will have to negotiate property division or go to court.

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