OPW INTERVIEW -- Aug 27 -- What are you doing to add content to your dating site? Here’s an interesting book/author for you to consider talking to. Adryenn Ashley is author of “Every Single Girl’s Guide to Her Future Husband’s Last Divorce”.
Adryenn, what inspired you to write the book?
I’m like a lot of future second wives. I postponed getting married until I found the right man, but it took a lot longer then I anticipated. By the time I got married, I had a house, retirement and investment assets. I had a lot of my own net worth; I wasn’t marrying into it. So I did a prenup, but I didn’t know everything that needed to be included, and about a year and a half into it, we got into some family law issues with his ex-wife, and I realized that I was wholly and totally unprepared financially for being a second wife. I didn’t protect myself as well as I could have. I accidentally did almost everything right, but had I really known what I was in for, I probably would have done more.
Why do you think people get divorced?
Seventy-five percent of all marriages break down because of financial stress. This leads to the communication breakdown, which then leads to the lack of sex and affairs.
What red flags should a woman look for in a potential (but divorced) partner?
The first thing I would tell any woman who is thinking about marrying a divorced man: Rule number 1: Read the divorce decree. Make sure you know what’s in it; and that it’s actually signed. That happened to a friend of mine. He had to cancel his wedding because he wasn’t actually divorced. It had been ten years but the judge had never signed the papers. If you’re thinking about living together, definitely pull your credit reports. Start having those financial discussions. “I see you have 40 credit cards, they’re all paid off with a zero balance. But why 40?“
Don’t ever think of a prenup as “I’m protecting myself against my future spouse.” Think of it as “I’m protecting myself for my future spouse.” That’s the whole point. As a very litigious society, we have 92 million lawsuits every year and 98% of them are settled out of court. Only 2% go to trial because people know they can sue you, and your insurance company would rather settle out of court. Bottom line, you want to protect your assets and your privacy.
If you could wave your magic wand, what would you do to improve the world’s divorce rate?
I am trying to get everyone to think of a martial partnership agreement as the rock-solid foundation of their marriage. It sets you up financially, emotionally, it makes sure that your hopes and dreams are aligned. People do grow apart, but the last thing you want is to find out ten years into your marriage that you’re the ‘pay the house off’ type and your partner is the ‘leverage the house, mortgage it to the hilt and invest in higher returning assets’ type.
What is your key advice to women in the book?
Get educated. We tend to put blinders on top of rose-colored glasses. If you look at religious marriage counseling, a four-hour marriage class reduces your divorce risk from 50% to 20%. Those four hours are all about asking those difficult conversation questions, which are key. If you don’t want to have a prenup, don’t have one, but do the work anyway. The work is what is going to get you that low divorce rate, because if you do what I tell you to do in my 40 hour marriage planning class, your chance of divorce drops to about 4% instead of 50%, and down from 70% for a second marriage. I teach this class once a year, and I’ll soon certify others to lead classes throughout the country, but you can do the work yourself by following the steps in the book.
How can men protect themselves from divorce?
Right now, there’s a marriage strike going on. A lot of men are not getting married. They see an outrageous court order of $40,000 for Kimora Lee Simmons children (who makes plenty of money on her own). Why $40,000? Do their children need that kind of lifestyle? How much does it cost to feed a child?
Or let’s say your wife has an affair and gets pregnant. In most states, you’re automatically the legal father regardless of whether or not you’re the biological father. There are so many reasons for men not to get married that there’s every reason for them to do this marital partnership agreement work; to really get to know the person they’re marrying, to have these agreements up front.
According to the Red Cross, 23% of babies born into marriage, just by blood typing alone, could not possibly be the husband’s child. That’s almost 1 in 4. If you take into account the report from the Association of Blood Banks, of the DNA challenges in paternity establishment for unmarried couples, over 30% of the people who said “That’s my baby’s daddy” were wrong.
Bottom line, the best insurance you can give yourself and your marriage is the gift of communication. Make sure you talk regularly, and that big decisions are shared equally. The real secret is that making sure you are financially compatible is the best indicator of whether or not you’ll make it to your 50 year wedding anniversary!