Popular culture often portrayed prenuptial agreements (prenups) as a means for men to protect their money and assets from “gold-diggers. Fans of the comedy Seinfeld may recall the episode when Kramer recommended George ask his fiancée Susan for a prenup with the intention of offending her enough to cancel the wedding. Instead of being offended, Susan laughed and agreed because she actually had a higher income. Two decades later, more women are out-earning their partners and are taking the lead and initiating the discussion about prenuptial agreements.
According to an American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers study, forty-six percent of lawyers said they saw an increase in the number of women initiating prenuptial agreements. Yahoo News reported that prenups were especially gaining popularity with millennial women.
More women are earning college degrees, reported Time. This translates into higher earning power. According to Forbes, women in their 20s without children out-earn men by as much as $1.08 to every dollar.
Another recent study, recounted in Bustle, found that the average age a woman marries is 26.5. It’s only natural that a woman contemplating marriage while she has the higher income wants to protect herself and any assets she has accumulated should the marriage dissolve.
The Big Bang Theory Star, Kaylee Cuoco signed a prenuptial agreement prior to marrying Ryan Sweeting. The thirty year old actress is more successful than her now ex-husband. According to Yahoo News, she earns $1 million per episode and is worth about $45 million. Sweeting attempted to collect spousal support, but because Cuoco had a prenuptial agreement protecting her personal assets, he was only entitled to $165,000 and reimbursement for legal fees.
Things did not go as well for Screenwriter Karen McCullough who did not have a prenuptial agreement. Bustle reported that McCullough was mandated by her state to pay spousal support to her ex-husband simply because she had a higher income.
The stereotypical relationship depicted on Two and a Half Men between Alan and his ex-wife Judith suggests that a man can be crippled by spousal support payments in the absence of a prenup is not just a man’s problem. McCullough’ situation is proof that women can now be on the hook for alimony payments depending on the laws of their state.
It important for women as well as men to protect their assets and prepare for a potential divorce rather than allow the state to determine what happens if the marriage dissolves.
The Family lawyers at Petrelli Law compare a prenuptial agree to an insurance policy, suggesting that just as you have property insurance in case of a fire or life insurance in case of an unexpected death, a prenuptial agreement addresses assets and debts in the event of a divorce.