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Prenuptial Agreements on the Rise

Make sure you bring a copy of your prenuptial agreement to your family lawyer's office in Pasadena. Prenuptial agreements, long popular among the rich and famous, now are on the rise amongst regular, non-celebrity couples.

A new study finds a massive increase in couples that sign prenups before walking down the aisle. Experts say uncertain economic times and a rising divorce rate are the reasons behind the change.

The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) conducted a survey of divorce and family lawyers to find out how many couples were using prenuptial agreements to protect their assets before marriage. AAML received data that reported 73 percent of attorneys surveyed cited an increase of prenuptial agreements during the past five years. The survey also found a surprising 52 percent increase of the respondents said more women are requesting prenuptial agreements.

Minnesota lawyer Sharon Lach says it makes sense that women are taking actions to protect their finances.

"More women are bringing assets into the marriage," she told the Seattle Times. "Plus, I think women are just getting smarter. They're thinking that 15 or 20 years down the line, they want to be protected."

Pop star Christina Aguilera, whose net worth is in the neighborhood of $60 million, is the most recent famous woman to reveal a prenuptial agreement when divorcing. A national increase in second marriages is another reason being attributed to the prenuptial agreement explosion. The staggering and often devastating financial and emotional blows delivered during a first divorce are enough to convince many individuals not to repeat history.

Yet even people with modest incomes to protect also are using the agreements to hang onto their assets during unpredictable economic times.

Lach is quick to point out that just because a couple signs a prenuptial agreement, it doesn't necessarily mean they aren't in love. Couples simply are being more honest and realistic about financial matters before they send out the wedding invitations; increased prenuptial agreements simply may be a reaction to modern times.

"The world is changing," Lach says. "But love can still be forever."