I?ve noticed that there are a lot more prenuptial agreements than there were in the past, and I?m not alone in that. Last fall, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers noted that nearly 2/3 of family lawyers they surveyed reported an increase in the past three years. What?s more, nearly half of the lawyers surveyed reported that more women were initiating requests for prenuptial agreements.

Some people still think that prenuptial agreements are made to protect large amounts of wealth, but that?s not necessarily the case. The recent AAML survey noted that the most common reasons for seeking a prenuptial agreement include protecting separate property, determining alimony or spousal maintenance, and determining the division of property.

While those are specific and sound reasons for seeking a prenuptial agreement, what it ultimately does is allows a couple to avoid litigation should they divorce. Florida has specific statutes regarding alimony and property division should a couple divorce, but a prenuptial agreement allows a couple to determine beforehand if they want to follow those provisions or make arrangements that might better fit their needs.

It?s an especially good idea if one of the partners is entering a second marriage, especially if the first marriage produced children. By specifying in a prenuptial agreement that children or grandchildren are entitled to certain assets, those assets won?t be tied up in litigation, and will be available when the children and grandchildren need them.

It used to be that a prenuptial agreement was more of a ?I have everything, you have nothing, you won?t get anything? proposition. Now, of course, it?s seen differently. It?s more fair in how couples structure them, and it is a great way to not only clarify what assets a couple brings into a marriage, but it allows a couple to talk about finances before they enter a marriage.