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Study: Couples are embracing prenuptial agreements in Alabama and the U.S.

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In a recent Harris Poll survey, 50% of adults in America have considered a prenuptial agreement with their partner. Prenups are a written contract created by two people before they're married. They typically list the property each person owns along with any of their debts. Prenups also lay out each person's property rights during the marriage and in the event of a divorce.

Robert Laird is a professor at The University of Alabama. He’s also the Department Chair of Human Development and Family Studies. He said there were predictions in the 1980s that no one would be married by 2020, but that’s clearly not the case.

“I think there's an element of like optimism. Like, you're choosing to get married because you're optimistic and enjoy spending the time with the person that they're marrying,” Laird said. “And to get [to] it takes some realistic conversations. To dispel that notion a little bit or to realize that, you know, a prenuptial agreement is just kind of doing what might be best.”

Laird said famous people normalizing prenuptial agreements takes away from that initial stigma. It allows people to see examples where it is beneficial to them and can be for other couples too.

Here are some statistics based around marriage and divorce rates through younger generations:

Younger generations vs. prenuptial agreements:

Data from the Harris Poll found that 42% of polled adults support the use of prenups. Younger generations are embracing prenups with 41% of Gen Z respondents who are married or engaged entering a prenup.

“I think people are going into marriages now with more of more of their own autonomy and more of their own resources,” Laird said. “Likely to see that prenuptial agreements are kind of a smart way to handle what might come later.”

Data also shows that Americans are often getting married later in life with their own individual assets and debt before marrying.

Marriage rates from 2020 to 2022:

In 2022, there was an estimated 2.5 million weddings which is the most seen in the US since 1984, according to the Wedding Report. While most couples had Zoom weddings during the pandemic, while most postponed their celebrations.

As a result, venues are being booked up along-side long working hours. Equally, wedding budgets are back up $3,000 since the dip in 2020.

Divorce Rates in the last 20th century:

Divorce rates have increased in the last half of the 20th century which is leading to the use of prenuptial agreements. Millennials are not less hopeful about divorce but being realistic when it comes to handling money. Women now see this as a way to financially protect themselves.

But over the last half of the 20th century, the divorce rates generally increased to around 40 to 50% of first marriages end up in a divorce. And generally, the recourse rates a little bit higher for subsequent marriages.

 

 

 

Ella Grossomanides is a student intern in the Alabama Public Radio newsroom.
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