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What You Need to Know Before Tying the Knot a Second—or Third—Time

09/05/2016

Social Security benefits

The odds are not great for second marriages: more than a third end in divorce. Third marriages fare even worse, with a 74% failure rate. Yet we live in a world of married couples, and we must like being married, says CBS Boston’s article, “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: Second or Third Go Around,” because despite overwhelming odds, we keep trying.

It sort of goes without saying that when you land at the altar for the second or third time, you need to do some more planning than you did the first time. Use your past experience to pinpoint some of the pitfalls because there are studies—believe it or not—that show most individuals actually repeat their mistakes.

Long before the ceremony, have a candid conversation about money, children, estate planning, and maybe even a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement can be a wise move for almost anyone with assets; they aren’t just for celebrities or the very wealthy.

A prenup can provide a fair and equitable way for a couple to start a relationship—particularly when: one has more assets than the other; one spouse is expecting to inherit future assets; or there are children from a previous marriage for whom you want to provide.

It’s important to remember that the older you are when you enter into a second marriage, the more concerned you should be about planning. Love at any age can throw things out of kilter in a good way, and you want to provide for this new person in your life.

But marriage has its advantages and disadvantages. One of the disadvantages is potentially losing benefits from your first marriage such as a pension or health care coverage if you remarry. In addition, it could impact your Social Security benefits.

If you’re entering into a relationship, and you both have adult children, assets, and a home from a previous marriage, consider a prenup and a conversation with an estate planning attorney.

If you are married and do not have a will, most states will assume that your wishes would be to give everything to your spouse and your children, a 50% split to each. If you want everything to go to your children from a first marriage, you will need an estate plan that specifies your wishes. However many times you are wed, you and your spouse should meet with an estate planning attorney to ensure that both of your wishes are made clear in a will.

Reference: CBS Boston (August 18, 2016) “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: Second or Third Go Around”

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