Get It In Writing
While you shouldn’t decide for or against remarriage solely on financial grounds, it is essential to know how a change in your marital status may affect the alimony, child support, pension or health care provisions of a previous divorce. An alimony settlement, for instance, may end when you remarry or be adjusted. Discuss your situation with your lawyers before applying for a new marriage license.
Prenuptial agreements are even more important for couples who are remarrying and who have acquired property, retirement plans — and children. It is also important to review and update legal documents like wills, powers of attorney, life insurance, trusts, social security and other retirement plans.
More and more older couples are choosing to live together rather than to marry and lose such benefits, but have your lawyers draw up a cohabitation agreement to assure equality in the relationship. Living together may create some unique legal and financial questions, but the principle is the same as in a prenuptial contract.
Essential Things to Discuss:
Requirements for marriage contracts, like requirements for marriage and divorce, vary from state to state, but here are some basics to consider for second marriages:
- Discuss what assets each brings to the marriage.
- Discuss what debt each has. Usually you aren’t responsible for debts incurred before marriage, but everything needs to be on the table.
- Discuss what other financial responsibilities either of you has such as aging parents, alimony or child support.
- Talk about how you as a couple plan to handle finances.
- Discuss your current insurance policies and if these will change after you are married.
- Discuss your current tax liability and how this might shift once you are married.
- Share your respective retirement plans, including how much you are saving and in what type of investment, and decide if this needs to be adjusted or reevaluated.
- Find out state requirements for marriage contracts.
- Draw up and sign a written agreement with the help of TWO attorneys. You each need one.
- Sign well in advance of your wedding to avoid claims of coercion later.
- Revisit and revise your contract if you move to another state or want to alter the original agreement.
- Draw up a cohabitation or property agreement if you plan to live together without marrying.
- Take a proactive step! We’ve created a guidebook called The Commitment Conversation to help individuals and couples navigate through the most important conversations of their partnership.
For tips on how to best welcome children from a previous marriage visit www.stepfam.org.
States with the Uniform Pre-Marital Agreement Act in effect: