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How a Prenup Could Make Marriage Less Stressful the Second Time Around

Proposing a prenup before getting married again could help reduce anxiety.

Key points

  • Proposing a prenuptial agreement before getting married can reduce anxiety and foster financial transparency.
  • Prenuptial discussions often increase understanding between the couple about goals, aspirations, and security.
  • A prenup is drafted and signed before marriage to safeguard financial assets and income for both spouses.
  • Especially important for remarriage, prenups can protect your children's inheritance or a small business.
Lapiyee / Canva Pro
It’s important to think beyond bouquets and bubbling champagne and consider the financial implications of securing your future together.
Source: Lapiyee / Canva Pro

It’s that time of year again. Red and pink hearts seem to be everywhere as people of all ages and backgrounds think about love and marriage—and sometimes, entering into a second or even third marriage.

As you might imagine, Valentine’s Day consistently ranks high as a preferred time for proposals. According to The Knot Engagement and Jewelry study, about 20 percent of engaged couples become so between November and February, and 7 percent of proposals take place on or near a holiday.

What is also fairly well known, however, is that second and third marriages have a higher likelihood of divorce. As an attorney specializing in family law, I often counsel clients considering second marriages on the importance of prenuptial agreements (prenups) to reduce stress and ensure complete transparency and protection as they embark on this exciting new phase of life.

Here are a few reasons why prenups can be a great idea for a second (or third) marriage:

1. Learning from past mistakes reduces anxiety.

Individuals who have already gone through a divorce tend to understand the emotional and financial toll it can take on themselves and their family. They have the benefit of entering into a subsequent marriage with a greater awareness of the importance of protecting their assets and interests. This heightened awareness can be an advantage when discussing prenuptial agreements.

2. Drafting a prenup fosters healthy communication.

Open and honest communication between partners is essential always, but especially when considering a second marriage. The exercise of discussing a prenup is a perfect opening for both parties to be forthcoming about their assets, liabilities, and expectations for the marriage.

3. A prenup can ensure the source of payment for child and/or spousal support as it relates to your prior marriage.

If either party has children from a previous marriage, support arrangements can be addressed in the prenuptial agreement. This way, a new spouse is not left suddenly paying for child support or spousal support that the other partner is obligated to pay.

Further, if you or your future spouse is receiving spousal support from a prior marriage, discussions about a prenup are a perfect opening to address what happens when that ends—which is likely to occur upon your remarriage, per the terms of many spousal support agreements. If your future spouse is dependent on that spousal support income from their prior spouse, how will your future spouse support themselves in the event that your marriage ends?

This issue of alimony, also known as spousal support or maintenance, is an important consideration in second marriages, especially if one partner significantly out-earns the other or if one spouse is expected to sacrifice career opportunities for the benefit of the family. A prenup can establish guidelines for alimony payments, taking into account factors such as the length of the marriage and each spouse's financial circumstances.

4. Discussing a prenup serves as a catalyst to update estate plans.

Preparing a prenup is another catalyst to update estate plans, including wills, trusts, and beneficiary designations. This ensures that the couple’s assets are distributed according to their wishes in the event of their death and can help avoid conflicts among spouses and children from previous marriages.

In second or third marriages, there may be a prior commitment to leave your estate to your children from your first marriage. A prenup may be necessary so that a future spouse does not make a claim to financial assets that are required to be left to your children.

As I always say, it's important to speak with a professional in your area about your unique circumstance—but most of all, take care and enjoy what can be a tremendously rewarding phase of life. (And don’t forget to propose a prenup!)

Note: This post is not intended to serve as legal or financial advice. Each situation is unique. Please speak with a local financial professional or attorney to address your issues specifically.

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