Prenuptial agreements more common among millennials

California millennials may have more student loan debt and marry later in life than earlier generations. Furthermore, far fewer households have a spouse who stays at home full-time. For these and other reasons, millennials may also be more likely to sign prenuptial agreements.

In 2015, the average student loan debt for new graduates was over $30,000. A prenup can ensure that neither person takes on the other's debts. One couple who had different attitudes about savings and risk agreed to sign one to protect one person's retirement savings. The other person took risks and went into debt to start new businesses and did not want to hurt the other person's finances with those decisions.

Some people still sign prenups for more traditional reasons. One couple agreed to sign a prenup because one partner came from a family who ran a pharmaceutical consulting business. It was important for that family to ensure that a portion of the business did not go to a child's ex-spouse in a divorce. Others might only need an agreement after being married for several years. A postnuptial agreement can be created in this case. For example, one couple agreed to prepare a postnup after they began buying real estate property for investment.

In California, a community property state, a pre- or postnup may keep a couple from having to divide anything acquired during their marriage. If a couple does not have an agreement, another approach that a better outcome than litigation is a mediated settlement. Mediation allows a couple to sit down with a neutral third party and talk through their issues. They still can have separate legal counsel to advise them as well.

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