Cultural and legal changes have given more options to unmarried couples in their pursuit of income and ways to invest their money. As part of that trend, unwed couples are increasingly looking to buy a place to live before tying the knot. A survey from one of the biggest real estate firms in the country has found that 25 percent of married home owners purchased their houses before marrying. The findings are prompting experts to advise unmarried couples in the Orange County, California, area to get a prenuptial agreement that puts both partners on the title to the house.
This trend among couples in the 18 to 34 age bracket is putting the spotlight on the important role that prenuptial agreements play in pre-wedding finances. Such an agreement places the equity and liabilities associated with such an investment into the hands of both partners so that neither holds sole responsibility of the mortgage, which often falls upon the shoulders of the mortgage's primary holder. It gives the title of the house to both partners, splitting the equity in the event of separation later.
The survey of 2,116 adults online found that many of the couples buying a home together still intend to get married. In addition to mortgages, unmarried couples also invest in other ways, a practice that would have been unacceptable to past generations.
This trend is in keeping with the shifting mind-set of a generation who tend to postpone marriage. In light of the country's divorce rate and the relative money-making power of this generation, more couples are opting to tie the knot later while still enjoying the financial benefits of marriage. Given that marriage is partly a long-term legal partnership that can have serious financial consequences when it ends in divorce, for some people it just makes sense to marry later rather than sooner, when both parties are ready and adapted to each other
For many couples, whether married or not, buying a house is often their most expensive investment and marital property. Having a solid prenuptial agreement that meets the needs of the involved parties is crucial in securing everyone's best interests.
Source: Foxbusiness.com, "Millennials doing things their way: First comes house, then wedding," Kate Rogers, April 17, 2013