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Marriage, divorce, etc.
For marriage to work, romance should take a back seat to finance, says this forensic accountant.
Families and finances

Spotlight: Adryenn Ashley

By the time you reach a certain age, learning financial lessons the hard way gets really old, not to mention expensive.

At a glance
Name: Adryenn Ashley
Hometown: Mill Valley, Calif.
Education: B.A. in Psychology, M.A. in Film Production/Finance, Ph.D. in Jurisprudence (Constitutional Scholar)
Career highlights:
  • Author of "Every Single Girl's Guide to Her Future Husband's Last Divorce."
  • Certified divorce financial analyst.
  • Asset protection specialist.
  • Forensic accountant.

Most people are more than ready to stop wasting money and start doing things the right way around the time that they'd like to get married and start a family.

For women considering marrying a previously divorced man, reading Adryenn Ashley's book, "Every Single Girl's Guide to Her Future Husband's Last Divorce," may help them avert some pricey missteps that come with the territory.

Ashley is a certified divorce financial analyst and forensic accountant. These roles have given her a unique perspective on the process of getting married and divorced. Bankrate caught up with her to find out how couples, previously divorced or not, should deal with finances in their romantic partnerships.

What kind of view has your experience as a certified divorce financial specialist and forensic accountant given you on romance and finances?

I used to be a die-hard romantic. And now that I've interviewed more than 1,000 families for my first book, my perspective has changed.

Love can overcome many things, but when you have some core differences in the way that you view money and some other things that are very critical to marriage, you're going to have a very hard time making it to a 50-year wedding anniversary.

I think that people would be better served if they knew themselves and what they were looking for long-term.

It's sort of a business arrangement, not just romance.

That's one of the ways that I try to put it into perspective is that in business, you create a business partnership agreement when you're going to go into something long-term with somebody.

You lay out all the parameters of how you're going to work together and what you're going to do together and what you're going to create. And then there is a part in there that says, if we get off track, here's what we're going to do to get back on track.

And then there is a teeny, tiny part in there that says, this is how we're going to break up. And that is how I view a prenuptial -- I call it a premarital agreement.

It is all about what you're going to do as a couple.

Should prenups be a prerequisite for a marriage only if there's a big imbalance in the parties' assets?

Prenups should be required for everyone, and I don't mean the lawyer-involved "I-get-this-you-get-this-this-is-my-stuff-don't-touch-my-baseball-card-collection" kind.

I don't mean that kind of prenup.

I think a marital partnership agreement should be what people have before they get married. Whether or not they sign the document or don't sign the document, they do the work and do the exercise in creativity and communication and that gives them the benefit.

What research has already shown is that going to a four-hour premarital class lowers your divorce rate from 50 percent to 20 percent.

If the courts and the government really wanted to reduce the divorce rate, they would make premarital contracts required to get a license to get married, and they would see the divorce rate just plummet. And they're not doing that because it's a huge industry.

It would be putting a lot of people out of work.

-- Posted: July 21, 2009
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