A decade or two ago, someone who was asked to sign a prenuptial agreement may rethink their relationship. Today, prenups are becoming more common among millennials. These can be important documents for people in Washington to protect themselves before marriage.
One reason why many millennials are more receptive to prenuptial agreements is that they are children of divorces themselves; they hope to prevent what they saw their parents go through. Another reason is that they are marrying later and have accumulated more valuable assets. This may be particularly true for women, who are more likely to have more education and higher incomes compared to their mothers. Even millennials who do not yet have valuable assets might have dreams of running their own business and hope that they can protect that business in case of divorce.
Another potential concern for millennials is debt that they bring into the marriage, particularly student loan debt. They may want to make sure they are not stuck with a spouse’s debt if the marriage ends. Prenups can also address whether one person will pay alimony to the other after a divorce.
Couples who do want a prenup should prepare the documents well before the wedding. Otherwise, it may look as though one person might have been pressured into it at the last minute.
Since Washington is a community property state, marital property is supposed to be split equally in case of divorce. This might be another reason for a soon-to-be spouse to seek a prenup. Couples who are already married can get a postnuptial agreement. One thing couples should keep in mind is that a prenup or postnup cannot address issues around child custody and support. If they have a prenup and get a divorce, they will still need to reach an agreement about these issues.