The psychological and sociological world are a buzz with preliminary finding about the reduction of the divorce rate among millennials. Yes, millennials are also not marrying in record numbers, or at least waiting longer to get married (4.9 years longer on average) than previous generations. They have learned that building themselves, building their life and taking their time before marrying gives them a better idea of what exactly they are looking for in a partner for that life.
Many millennials report that their caution comes from sitting in the backseat of the car watching their parents argue, sitting quietly in an adjacent room while the screaming escalated or being completely shocked by coming home from school to find packed boxes and divorce looming. They lived through the child side of the terrible and destructive custody battles, and when they see their parents now they realize they likely never really were a match. They remember their parent’s divorce and they want to do better.
They have realized that many of the problems in a marriage are caused by money, whether lack thereof or crippling debt, and as a result, millennials are establishing themselves financially, including extinguishing debts, prior to seeking marriage. They may live together for quite a while prior to considering marriage, but they are more likely to be very deliberate about how they live with another person and how they manage joint finances. When they choose to marry, millennials are seeking prenuptial agreements to clearly map out financial expectations during the marriage, and prenuptials don’t have the stigma they carried for previous generations.
The realization of the changes coming to the landscape of divorce gives us an opportunity to better address the needs and desires of this generation. Through Collaborative Divorce our teams of professionals can manage and interact with the clients, and help them reach resolution to their disputes together in a private manner. We can offer co-parenting tools that can help this new generation to avoid the pain and pitfalls of the past. They don’t have to live their parent’s divorce over again, but instead, should they need to divorce, they can do so differently.
While studies are showing that millennials divorce on average 24% less often than previous generations, this isn’t a zero sum game meaning they will not divorce at all. What millennials as a generation are showing is that they are more deliberate, and in time, they will learn what Collaborative Professionals have known for years. The Collaborative Process is not just for divorce!!!
Millennials will learn that the Collaborative Process is useful in drafting and crafting Prenuptial Agreements. With great intention not only can clients plan for their financial future through a premarital agreement, but in the Collaborative context, they can craft a process and map many other areas of their future life together. They can utilize a neutral facilitator during the prenuptial process to craft a plan for child rearing, and to create an embedded resource for co-parenting skills in the future.
They can utilize a neutral financial professional during the prenuptial process to discuss budgeting and how best to go about marrying their finances in light of their premarital agreement. And, ultimately, in the event they were to divorce in the future, they could agree to marry themselves to the Collaborative Divorce process as a first option, thus allowing them to avoid a fate similar to that of their parents. Millennials remember their parent’s divorce and they are planning to marry and potentially divorce differently.