A relationship Website LoveShack.org, an online debate rages over prenups. One commenter shared her divorce story on the site writing, "My ex took me to the bloody cleaners. For over 10 years he was in a midlife 'arteest' crisis, forsaking his PhD job, and thinking he wanted to be a writer/poet/singer, and I had to support him."
After the couple divorced, the poster wrote that she was sued for half of everything. "I had to keep him in the lifestyle to which he had become accustomed because I had set a precedent, even though he is fully capable of earning a six-figure income." As a result, "damn straight I got a prenup in my second marriage."
Oft-times women and men are afraid to ask about prenups. "People don't like to think of premarital agreements," says Linda Lea Viken at Viken Law Firm in Rapid City, South Dakota. "Whomever didn't suggest it tends to get very defensive."
To help motivate clients towards better planning, Viken includes a note in closing letters to clients when a case has ended: "Remember that if you marry again you should have a premarital agreement to protect your assets."
As more people skip marriage and move right in Viken, the newly elected president of AAML, says it's wise to consider cohabitation agreements, which are written agreements between unmarried same-sex or heterosexual couples.
That's what Lauren Lyons Cole, a certified financial planner, did when her then-boyfriend asked her to move into his apartment. After discussing the emotional and financial consequences if the two parted ways, they decided on a verbal cohabitation agreement that would share the financial burden if the two were to break up.
"If I moved in with him, I'd have to move out, and the rental market could make it harder to find an affordable apartment in my range. What I realized is that moving in together is an emotional risk: you're not married and you're not engaged and I felt like I was also taking on the financial risk," says Cole. "We talked about how we could neutralize the financial risk, and basically agreed that if we did break up, he would help me with the financial process of finding a new apartment and furniture."
The two did split a little later, Cole's boyfriend helped her with the move, and things went along the lines of their agreement.
"It's an important financial discussion to have because you fall in love with the heart but then your pocketbook is affected if it falls apart, then you have heartache at two levels," says Moses.