The History of Prenuptial Agreements

The History of Prenuptial Agreements

As a follow-up to our recently published article on nuptial agreements in Florida, here’s a look into the history of what many erroneously believe is a modern invention.


Marital contracts, also referred to as prenuptial agreements, date back to ancient Egypt. One of the earliest known prenups is over 2,000 years old. These written or verbal contracts established the property that each spouse would bring to the marriage.  Prenuptial agreements set the bride’s dowry and the bride wealth–the price that a groom would pay the bride’s family in exchange for marrying her. The bride and groom’s parents almost always made these agreements. This practice was commonplace until the early 20th century. For several thousand years, women were not granted the right to own property and choose their spouses. Prenuptial agreements became a way to ensure that a woman could access her husband’s property if he died.


Here are some important history facts about prenuptial agreements:


✔️ Two thousand years ago, the Jews provided for an ancient Hebrew marriage contract called a ketubah.

✔️ In France, the customary prenuptial derives from the dowry, first recorded in the ninth century.

✔️ In the United States, New York State passed the Married Women’s Property Act in 1848, ensuring that married women would inherit their husband’s estate.

✔️ The Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA) was drafted in 1983 partly in response to the large number of people who were getting married and intending to continue to pursue careers outside the home.


Although designed to protect women in the event of divorce or a husband’s death, the prenuptial is well-known for protecting sizable wealth in the event of divorce. If you are considering a prenuptial agreement, we are here to answer all your questions. Give us a call!


With over 30 years of combined experience, Jason Brodie Esq. and Joshua Friedman Esq. will guide you toward realistic goals and provide committed advocacy toward achieving them. They are known throughout South Florida for dedicated client service, tenacity, and success in complex divorce litigation involving property division, child custody, and spousal support. To get a better understanding of the qualities our reputation is built on, contact our office in Boca Raton to schedule your initial phone consultation (561) 392-5100

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