Can Millennials Save Marriage? Millennials Have A Different Take on Marriage, Pre-Nups

Can Millennials Save Marriage? Millennials Have A Different Take on Marriage, Pre-Nups

It’s no secret that today’s couples view marriage differently than previous generations. But you probably didn’t know that studies show this modern view is having a significant impact on divorce rates.  

The U.S. divorce rate dropped 18 percent from 2008 to 2016 according to an analysis by University of Maryland sociology professor Philip Cohen. The reason? Data suggests younger generations, and especially millennials (those currently aged 23 to 38), are not only being more choosy about who they marry, but waiting to marry until they have “adulting” (education, career, finances, etc.) under control.  

Another unexpected change? The rise of the “curated” prenuptial agreement.

Many couples, especially millennial couples, find that negotiating a prenuptial agreement aligns them on a specialized plan for staying together. It’s also a way to know what is at stake in the event of a divorce. In fact, a 2016 survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reported that 51 percent of lawyers saw a spike in millennials asking for prenups, which continues to be the trend.

What is a Curated Prenup? It is a contract that, in addition to the typical financial matters, includes specialized clauses unique to the couple. It details what must happen if and when the issue of divorce is raised, such as an “emotional clause.”

What is an “Emotional Clause”? The writer in a recent Glamour editorial says she and her fiance added a clause requiring “that before divorcing, we’ll attend at least as many therapy sessions as the number of years we’ve been together.” In other words, for this millenial the idea wasn’t to enter a contract with a plan to get divorced. Rather, she and her fiance wanted to make sure they had an agreement in place that included requirements she and he did everything they could to work on their relationship before they got to the point of separating.

Another example is a clause requiring the couple meet with a third-party mediator—even a friend or pastor—whenever big issues arise to try to address the issues before they become insurmountable. 

Are These Clauses Binding? It depends. Some states may view them as aspirational and non-binding, and parties may have an issue enforcing a breach. For example, most states won’t force a couple to remain married just because they didn’t go to counseling. 

That said, if a couple is contemplating a prenuptial agreement, then considering and negotiating all areas of the marriage—not just financial—can be a powerful, healthy process. It can improve trust, accountability, and openness.

 Or, alternatively, one could find out during the process (and before walking down the aisle) that you and your beloved may have very different views that need to be resolved.

If you are curious as to whether a prenuptial or a postnuptial agreement may be right for you, the attorneys at Hedgepeth Heredia LLC have extensive experience in drafting enforceable documents and litigating their enforceability or, in certain circumstances, their non-enforceability, and we would be happy to schedule an in-person consultation with you. 

Want to know more? 

You can reach attorney Jessica Reece Fagan (who is a millennial and seriously considering adding a clause regarding ownership of her daughter’s private Instagram account in the event of separation) at



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