British Columbia

Millennials more open to pre-nups than older generations, says B.C. family lawyer

Millennials are opting to marry in their early 30s, meaning they're entering marriages with a lot more to lose, says B.C. family lawyer Georgialee Lang

Millennials are marrying with more assets they would like to see protected, lawyer says

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Prenuptial agreements are on the rise for B.C.'s younger newlyweds, says family lawyer Georgialee Lang.

According to a recent survey from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, prenuptial agreements are rising for newlyweds aged 18 to 35 — and Lang says the shift is noticeably taking place in B.C.

"We're seeing [prenuptial agreements] more notably with millennials — and there's a whole range of reasons as to why that's happening," she told host Gloria Macarenko on CBC's B.C. Almanac.

Lang says that trend is taking place primarily because millennials are waiting until they're in their 30s to get hitched, unlike previous generations — and that millennials tend to enter marriages with a lot more to lose.

"People in their early 30s have had an opportunity to acquire assets — and they're aware of that," she said.

'A matter of being responsible'

Maple Ridge's Misty McGill falls into that category. She bought her first apartment in her mid-20s and spent the next decade working tirelessly to pay it off.

"It took a lot of Kraft-Dinner eating just to make sure the mortgage payments were made," she said, laughing.

McGill​ and her partner are both in their 30s and have started talking about the possibility of getting married.

She admits there's nothing romantic about a prenuptial agreement but thinks it's important that her years worth of hard work not get lost in the unfortunate event of a divorce or separation.

"It's just a matter of being responsible and forward thinking. It's better to do it now when everyone's on good terms than when things could be ugly," she said.

Communication is key

While McGill hopes to eventually take the plunge into holy matrimony, more than 21,000 British Columbians have already been married in 2016. And with a national divorce rate of 40 per cent (according to the latest data from Statistics Canada), an estimated 8,400 of them could end up divorced.

Lang says that while prenuptial agreements can be helpful, what's most important is to have open conversations about what assets each partner wants to have protected given the likelihood of separation.

"The more you talk, the better the communication is, the more these agreements will work out."

With files from CBC's B.C. Almanac

To listen to the full interview, click on the audio labelled: Millennials more open to pre-nups than older generations, says B.C. family lawyer