There is no doubt that marriage is harder than ever. A new bride will gain more than a husband, as if the groom has been married before, the bride might find herself married to his alimony and child support payments as well. A groom might suddenly be a stepfather if the bride has children from a previous marriage. These are just some of the reasons to need to approach another marriage very carefully, and be aware of some of the unique financial situations that arise for second marriages.
More than 40% of weddings involve a bride or groom who has been married before. While most of these couples pay attention to their wedding budget, most don?t take time to discuss the financial issues that will have a larger impact on their relationship. These include situations where one spouse owns assets awarded in a prior divorce, or more commonly a when either spouse is supporting children from a prior marriage. You need to address these issues before you tie the knot and understand how they will impact your life together. It will be the best thing for your relationship.
Consider a Prenuptial (or Post-nuptial) Agreement
A prenuptial agreement lets you and your new spouse agree how your assets, no matter when they are acquired, will be distributed if you divorce or pass away. This agreement can be done after the marriage or before, but it?s better to take care of it before you get married. ?The ideal time to begin discussing this in during your engagement, well in advance of the wedding day. The reason being that there are laws that allow a spouse to later challenge a prenuptial agreement if that agreement was made close to the wedding and the spouse claims he or she was under duress.
It is also not uncommon for people getting married for a second or third time to want to determine the allocation of expenses during the marriage. Sometimes, a couple will want even to establish the division of property and the payment of any alimony should the marriage end in divorce. These things can be addressed in the prenuptial agreement that your experienced family law attorney can prepare for you.
In many states, a surviving spouse has an interest in the estate of their deceased spouse, regardless of a provision of a will. People in second marriages often prefer that some of their assets transfer over to their children from their prior marriage, and or such an arrangement was actually agreed to within their prior divorce. For example, many couples will agree that they will maintain life insurance policies naming their children as beneficiaries, or they will award certain items of property to their children. This can be a part of the prenuptial agreement. You should consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to make sure your assets will be divided per your wishes. Make sure that your will is current and has an updated medical power of attorney.
Assets gained prior to a second marriage are non-marital. If there is proof they are non-marital and have not been combined with marital assets, they will not be distributed in the event of a divorce. Some tips to protect and maintain your non-marital assets are:
- Keep your marital and non-marital assets completely separate
- Use only marital funds during your second marriage to purchase new property that you intend to share with your new spouse
- Keep your non-marital assets or accounts titled in your own name, and do not apply any of your new marital funds to those assets or accounts
- Keep detailed records of your non-marital assets
With so many factors needing to be considered before a second or third marriage, it is best to consult with an experienced family law attorney. At Sherer Law Offices, we have the knowledge and expertise to guide you through the prenuptial process.