Dannenbaum Law Firm, PLLC

More couples are using prenups in the startup age

The laws in many states have a presumption that any wealth gained during the course of a marriage is the property of the couple rather than the spouses separately. For Virginia couples considering marriage, a prenuptial agreement can be a safeguard against much of the havoc of divorce. According to a 2016 American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers survey, 60% of divorce lawyers said they'd seen an increased demand for prenuptial agreements in the prior three years.

Roughly 50% of those surveyed said they'd seen a spike in the number of prenups being requested by millennials. Part of the reason for an increase in prenups may be the developing startup culture. People are getting married when they have just an idea with the potential for growth. If their ideas later become successful, their spouses may have a claim to that success in the absence of a prenup. Another reason may be the growing awareness of the likelihood of eventual divorce. Even when entrepreneurs get married, their business ideas and ventures remain their true passion.

In the event of a divorce, though, a judge may decide to throw out a prenup. This is especially true for poorly drafted agreements. Many venture capital firms consistently require protections against the founder losing shares due to a divorce, and a prenup can provide that protection.

Couples in Virginia who are preparing to get married might want to schedule a meeting with a lawyer. An attorney who practices family law might help a couple identify potential hurdles in the future and suggest provisions to include in a prenuptial agreement. A prenup can help a couple define the assets and liabilities they bring into a marriage and set out what each party is entitled to if they divorce, reducing financial and emotional stress.

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