RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -

"When you stand up in front of a judge or minister and say, 'I do', automatically 26 laws in the state of California apply to you and your spouse," divorce attorney Jeff Patterson said. 

'Til death do us part sometimes turns into 'til divorce do us part. That's why a new survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers shows more people turn to prenuptial agreements to protect themselves and their finances. 

"My niece wanted to have a prenup because she owns some property and she thought that was a proactive thing to do even though she was very much in love with her husband," Nancie Autumn said. 

Autumn's niece isn't alone. The survey shows more women are asking their husbands or partners to sign a prenup. 

"I think it's a result of the fact women are career oriented now and they have assets they've built up.They're marrying at a later age. They're marrying at 30s, 40s. They have assets to protect," Autumn said. 

In the case of death or divorce, she could be left on the street with nothing. A prenup could protect her and make sure that doesn't happen. 

"If that marriage only lasts a year, well then you should pay me a certain amount of money to get back in an apartment, furniture, get all that back that I gave up to move into a big house," Patterson said.

"In this day and age you want marriages to last but they don't always last, but this way it's fair to both sides," she said.