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Alfred Angelo Bridal’s Closing and the State of Marriage

By Sheryl Rentz on July 17, 2017

bride's necklace and wedding dress

Last week, many Pennsylvania brides-to-be were shocked to discover that Alfred Angelo Bridal Shop, which operates more than 60 stores in the United States, had abruptly closed its doors. Women were left waiting outside stores in hopes that the dresses they had already ordered and paid for were in stock, but many of them were out of luck. While the number of distressed brides is unfortunate in itself, Alfred Angelo’s closing raises another disconcerting question. Does the closure of one of the world’s largest manufacturers and retailers of wedding dresses say something about the state of marriage in Pennsylvania and the United States?

Marriage Is Rarer

Last year, Salon reported on data from the CDC and the United Nations, stating that fewer couples are getting married than ever before. Barely more than half of adults in the United States say they are living with a spouse, which is the lowest percentage on record. Pennsylvania falls in line with this data, as the 2015 CDC numbers showed it is among the states with the lowest marriage rates, accompanied by Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.

The reasons for this drop are not definitive, but one may be the fear of divorce and its consequences. Young people may see the “hassle” of the divorce process as a reason to skip the wedding altogether. How can you manage your fears without giving up on marriage?

Protect Yourself for Marriage

It starts with taking steps to protect yourself beforehand. Prior to saying, “I do,” consider drafting a prenuptial agreement with your spouse-to-be, participating in premarital counseling, and talking to a family law attorney. All of these things can limit the damage in case a divorce or other unexpected outcome occurs later down the line. Here is a brief overview of what you can expect with each of these actions:

  • Prenuptial agreement: Of the pre-marriage steps mentioned, you are probably most familiar with the prenuptial, or “prenup,” agreement. A prenuptial agreement decides what will happen to you and your spouse’s assets and income in the unfortunate event of divorce, separation, or death. It also establishes the property rights for each spouse, i.e., who gets ownership of what property, if the marriage ends. A knowledgeable attorney will draft a professional prenuptial agreement on your behalf, taking into consideration Pennsylvania law, your wishes, and preexisting property ownership.
  • Premarital counseling: It’s almost always a good idea to attend premarital counseling. Premarital counseling often covers topics like finances, household responsibilities, and child rearing. Talking through these topics can ultimately help couples avoid divorce and achieve better marital outcomes.
  • Talking with a family law attorney: Speaking with a family law attorney is a good basic step you can take before entering into a marriage. If you are unsure about the prenuptial agreement or premarital counseling, or you have any questions about what to do before getting married, talking to an expert can only help. A knowledgeable Pennsylvania attorney will be able to guide you through any questions you may have.

While marriage rates may be declining in both the United States and Pennsylvania, that does not mean you should give up your dream of a happy marriage. As long as you take the legal steps to protect yourself with pre-marital agreements, you can marry your loved one without worrying about any potential pitfalls. To speak to an experienced family law attorney, contact the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C., at (610) 645-0100.

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