Jun 15, 2020 - Things to Do

Coronavirus could lead to more prenups. Here’s what Charlotteans think

hearts wall in south end

hearts wall in south end

In a survey of more than 1,500 Axios Charlotte readers, 62 percent of respondents said they think prenuptial agreements (a.k.a. prenups) are a good idea. The coronavirus pandemic may cause that number to swell, a Charlotte lawyer says.

When we covered the topic two years ago, 64 percent of readers were in favor of a prenup. Talk about being consistent.

Emma Scotthorn, who’s in her 20s, shares her thoughts on the topic saying, “There’s no reason not to. If you stay together, fantastic! You didn’t need it. But if you do split, it makes separation so much legally easier and less expensive. It’s a way to protect yourself.”

“While I don’t believe in divorce, I think anything can happen and it’s important to protect yourself,” says Tessa Dyer, who’s in her 20s.

Christy Lee Plebanski, who’s in her 40s, says, “Both of us are on our second marriages. No one goes in thinking it won’t last. But it happens. Divorces can bring out the ugly in people. Your anger and hurt cloud your judgement. If you can avoid the fighting, why wouldn’t you? If you went in with something substantial, you should be able to leave with it.”

Nicole Sodoma, managing principal and attorney at Sodoma Law, says prenups are typically more common in second marriages like Plebanski’s.

She also notes that more couples from the Boomer, Gen-X, and millennial generations alike are opting for a prenup. In fact, a new study shows that there’s been a recent uptick in millennial couples opting for prenups. Half of the lawyers surveyed reported that they’d seen an increase in millennial couples choosing to put one into place.

Sodoma anticipates the coronavirus pandemic could cause the popularity of prenups to climb.

Sodoma says the financial impact on couples during this time, whether due to job loss or dwindling investments, may prompt partners to consider a prenup more carefully than they would have before. She says, “Couples have seen what it’s like to watch their money go away, so they’ll want to protect it from happening again.”

Also, the inevitable increase in time spent together as partners work from home may play a role. “Now you have this time to have the hard conversations,” Sodoma says. “Maybe you’re working from the same home using the same office and are paying bills together, so you want to have the financial conversations.”

In addition to changing prenup trends, Sodoma is seeing an increase in requests for postnuptial agreements lately, which cover the same terms as a prenup but are put into place after the marriage has already happened.

She says these typically happen when one partner has come into an inheritance or takes on a significant amount of debt from choices like going back to school or starting a business.

[Related Agenda guide: More Charlotte millennials are considering prenups — some say it’s romantic]

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