We recently discussed the highly-publicized splits of several celebrity couples, including the separation of Courteney Cox and David Arquette and the separation-turned-divorce of Christina Aguilera and Jordan Bratman. Since the splits were announced, the couples have been subject to much speculation about the reasons behind the separation and each pair's future plans. However, there is perhaps no topic that has received more press than the future of their finances. While Aguilera and Bratman had a prenuptial agreement, Cox and Arquette reportedly had none, leaving open the possibility that Arquette could be awarded half of Cox's $100 million fortune.

Historically, women have not been great proponents of prenuptial agreements. According to experts and attorneys, women are more likely to see such an agreement as a lack of confidence in the future of their relationship, while men generally see it as a business decision. However, as women increase their earning power and assets, they are increasingly likely to request prenuptial agreements prior to marriage. In a recent survey of 1600 divorce attorneys, 52 percent reported a vast increase in women seeking prenups.

"With additional employment opportunities and more roles in making money, acquiring money and giving money, women are much more involved in finances," said Marline Eskind Moses, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. "Consequently they recognized how important it is to plan for what would happen to them if their marriages do not work out."

In general, family law attorneys have seen an increase in prenuptial agreements over the last five years. Specifically, attorneys are reporting a rise in requests for the inclusion of pensions and retirement accounts in agreements. "Oftentimes pension and retirement funds are the parties' biggest asset and they can be substantial," Moses said. "People want to protect them when they're entering into a marriage."

Source: ABC News, "More Women Say 'I Do' to Prenups", Lyneka Little, 27 September 2010