Second Marriages

Getting Married Again? Avoid these 5 Financial Mistakes

Divorce, Money, Relationships

In love for the second time around? When you’re in love the world often seems rosy and it’s easy to think that everything will work itself out. However, if you’re seriously considering getting married for the second time, then you may want to take a moment to fully grasp just how marriage will affect your finances. Family law attorney and legal analyst Jennifer A. Brandt offers the following five financial mistakes couples should avoid when marrying for the second time.

1) Failing To Get A Prenuptial Agreement – It is astounding that couples who have been previously divorced, or even widowed, would not get a prenuptial agreement when entering into a second marriage.  This puts any wealth accumulated prior to the second marriage at serious risk.  Moreover, those who are marrying for the second time are presumably, somewhat experienced in the trials and travails of life and should realize that a prenuptial agreement is merely a necessary insurance policy to protect against the unexpected.

Los Angeles divorce attorney Kelly Chang Rickert offers the following advice. “If both of you have been married before, understand and accept that statistics has you pegged at a 60% likelihood of getting divorced again. Discuss that. CONQUER your fears. Get a prenuptial agreement.”

2) Not Updating Your Will – If either one of the couple has children from a prior relationship, or other people or entities to whom they want to bequest their estate, it is necessary to update their will when re-marrying.  While in most states, you cannot disinherit your spouse, you can limit any assets they receive to their statutory share under relevant state law while preserving the remainder of the estate for other beneficiaries.

3) Repeating Past Financial Practices – Some people never learn from their prior actions, especially when it comes to finances.  To the extent that a party ignored the finances in their first relationship, they should vow not to be ignorant of same during their second marriage.  Both parties to a marriage need to be aware and involved in the finances.  They should both know what money is earned and where investments are kept.  They should also both review important financial documents, such as tax returns, before signing.

4) Keeping Secrets – If either one was financially irresponsible in the past or if they have past debts to pay, they may be reluctant to share this with their new spouse.  Unfortunately, past mistakes frequently find a way of unearthing themselves in current relationships.  That is why it is always best to come clean on the outset and discuss a plan for avoiding these pitfalls in the future.

5) Ignoring Future Obligations – In second marriages, people frequently have obligations to children or spouses from their first marriage.  Failing to communicate about these obligations before marrying can cause resentment in the future.  The new spouse needs to understand and accept that these obligations can cause a serious financial impact to cash flow that may affect the couple’s lifestyle.