The Future of Marriage and Divorce: Trends in Prenuptial Agreements, Cohabitation, and Splitting Assets


In the ever-evolving landscape of personal relationships, the concepts of marriage and divorce are undergoing significant transformations. As societal norms shift and financial realities become more complex, how couples approach the legal aspects of their relationships is also changing. This post delves into the current trends affecting marriage and divorce, focusing on the rise of cohabitation, the evolving nature of prenuptial agreements, and the innovative approaches to splitting assets. 

Cohabitation has evolved over time.  Cohabitation was once very frowned upon.  As Cohabitation became less frowned upon, couples began living together for short periods of time prior to getting married.   Now we see couples Cohabitating for much longer periods of time before marriage.  Lengthy Cohabitation before marriage has now created issues and added additional complexities to divorce, especially as it comes to property division.  When couples have substantial assets that were acquired by the parties prior to the formal marriage, the division of assets becomes much more complicated.  If you then add in the claim of Common Law Marriage, which is only recognized in 8 states, the divorce can become a colossal nightmare.  

Evolving Nature of Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements, once the domain of the wealthy, are becoming much more mainstream and a necessity for parties that acquire property during cohabitation. This shift is driven by several factors, including the increase in marriages later in life when individuals may have accumulated significant assets and debts or have children from previous relationships. There's also a growing recognition of the practicality of prenups in clarifying financial matters from the outset.  Prenups are becoming increasingly more comprehensive, covering not just the division of assets and liabilities but also alimony, inheritance rights, and even the division of digital assets like cryptocurrencies, social media accounts, and other online accounts (think  Itune Accounts). Moreover, there's a trend towards including clauses that address non-financial matters, such as responsibilities around childcare and household duties.  

Splitting Assets: New Considerations

Technology has outpaced the law.  While this is not a new issue, recent technology advancements such as Artificial Intelligence, have so far outpaced the law  that attorneys are having to get creative in their approach to splitting assets in a divorce. Dividing assets in the event of a divorce is now having to take into consideration a whole new landscape that didn’t exist with our parents or grandparent’s prenuptial agreements.  With the rise  of digital assets, such as cryptocurrencies and NFTs (non-fungible tokens), assigning value and how these types of assets should be divided under a Prenuptial agreement is becoming exceedingly more complex. Additionally, the increase in dual-income households shifted how assets and earnings are viewed, with a more equitable approach to division becoming common. There's also a growing trend of including future earnings potential, especially in cases where one partner has sacrificed their career for the family, in the division of assets.

Looking Ahead: The Future of Relationships and Law

As we look to the future, several trends will likely shape the landscape of marriage and divorce, including the increasing use of prenuptial agreements over a broader portion of the population. The increasing length of periods of cohabitation prior to marriage will only continue thus necessitating couples to utilize prenuptial agreements or other types of contractual agreements  on a more frequent basis to ensure that both parties are ultimately protected in the event of the demise of the relationship (whether before or after a formal marriage).   Hopefully Legal systems will evolve to recognize better and address the realities of modern relationships, including providing more robust protections for cohabiting couples and finding ways to assess and divide modern assets justly.


The future of marriage and divorce is shaped by changing societal norms, economic realities, and technological advancements. As couples navigate these changes, the importance of clear legal agreements that reflect each couple’s unique circumstances and intentions cannot be overstated. Staying abreast of these modern trends is crucial for legal professionals to provide relevant and practical advice. Understanding these trends can help couples make informed decisions about their relationships and financial futures. As we move forward, the adaptability of the legal system to these evolving realities will play a pivotal role in ensuring that it continues to meet the needs of individuals fairly and equitably.  Until the legal system appropriately advances, it will be necessary for couples who Cohabitate for any lengthy period of time to utilize legal professionals that are versed in addressing modern and unique issues that arise.

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