How a Prenup Shaped My Successful Second Marriage

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Statistics are not favorable about the chances of a second marriage lasting for a long time. However, there are things that you can do to set yourself up for a successful second marriage.

I knew my first marriage was rocky, but I thought we could eventually return to normal. However, when my wife served me divorce papers, I went numb. My mind darted to everything I’d done wrong – missed anniversaries, arguments and conflict over money, unkept promises about our future, and more. I wondered what had happened to cause the loss of trust and love between my partner and me.

I thought about my children and the trauma a divorce would bring to bear. How would divorce impact their future? Would seeing their parents’ failed relationship affect the family they may want to start in the future?

I spent some time getting over the end of my marriage, the times we had together, and any remaining feelings I had for my ex-partner. I never imagined I could find a new love and have a successful second marriage.

Woman signing a document while holding a bouquet of flowers.
A premarital agreement could protect you in an unexpected divorce.

I never imagined I’d find love again, let alone walk down the aisle. This second time around, I swore I’d be different – and that started with fulfilling financial obligations to my ex-wife and children. But how was I going to manage my finances and make sure I take care of my children’s inheritance? Discussing a prenuptial agreement is never easy or romantic, but my new bride understood that I was trying to forge a lasting and successful second marriage by sticking to my commitments. Indeed, that one document gave us both peace of mind and laid the groundwork for a trusting relationship.

A Successful Second Marriage Means Protecting Financial Obligations 

Everyone who has had a previous marriage will have prior financial obligations to consider. I did, too. If either party is entering the new relationship with children from their last union, there’s a lot to think about. I owed money toward child support, college expenses, medical bills, recurring items from my child’s dental work, bills from a private school, and music lessons. 

I needed to know if my ex was owed alimony from her previous marriages. Did my new partner own a life insurance policy from her last marriage? Would she still have to maintain that policy?

We needed to decide who would pay for what. Should both of us in the new marriage be on the hook for expenses from our former lives? Should each spouse open a separate account to pay these costs? Our prenuptial agreement solidified the answers to all of these questions and more.

The Need To Communicate About Financial Issues

Many issues relating to the previous marriage can arise when you’re married to another partner. The other person may feel bitter that you’re paying so much in spousal and child support. Marital conflict can arise if one person is unhappy that they had to give up their alimony when they got married for the second time.

The lessons from my first marriage helped me to have more realistic expectations of my relationship. It’s common that resentment can build up when couples avoid conflict and do not communicate. I know, from experience, that it’s not just the big issues. The little things can build up and slowly kill relationships between couples.

It was especially important to me that I was comfortable with talking about these issues with my new future spouse. I wanted to avoid the same problems from happening again in my next marriage. We had to open up about our personal experiences, feelings, and expectations about common issues like how we would manage our financial obligations from our previous relationships. This also made me more confident that we were ready to take things to the next step.

Premarital Agreements Protect You and Your Retirement

I entered the workforce at age 15 bagging groceries. I paid for my first car in cash. I’ve spent my entire life working, sacrificing, and stashing away acorns in preparation for my golden years. As a result, I was on track for the retirement I’ve always wanted. Working toward a successful second marriage doesn’t mean those goals have to be pushed back. I’ve worked for everything I have, and my prenuptial agreement helps to protect those assets. It also allows me to take good care of the people I love.   

Statistics for second marriages also aren’t exactly on our side. The divorce rate for second marriages is higher than that of first marriages. 60% of second marriages and 50% of first marriages end in divorce. This goes up to 70% for a third marriage. That made me more conscious that having a prenuptial agreement was also important to safeguard my assets and obligations if I got a divorce for the second time. I also want to protect the interests of the family I would be starting with my current partner.

What Terms To Have In A Prenuptial Agreement

Together, couples should decide how they would like to handle all of their previously held accounts. They should also consider future expenses before they get married. Here is a simple checklist for a prenup:

  • How will household expenses be paid? How will you divide payments for larger purchases? 
  • What about debt that one person may be bringing with them from their previous life? Who pays for that? 
  • Once retirement comes along, how much will you withdraw from each person’s savings?  

Since my current partner and I had a significant difference in worth, we laid those cards on the table before moving forward with a wedding. I found this step to be especially important because I am planning on leaving money to my children, while still taking good care of my new spouse in the event something unforeseen happens to me.

Couples in second marriages often may have a more realistic idea of what a relationship needs to last and this involves good marital communication. This can make it an easier conversation to make sure we are fully aligned on what we want and need. Doing this before taking our relationship to the next step and getting married would set us up for success.

Pre-nuptial for Children’s Inheritance

We all want to leave something to our loved ones. When I remarried, I set out the details of my children’s inheritance in a premarital agreement. If I hadn’t, they risked losing those funds or having them redirected after my death.

Remember, you must get someone with experience to prepare a prenuptial agreement. Many problems and issues can often arise with poorly written prenups. The original effort I put into mine will help to protect my assets from the unknown while ensuring that my children are well taken care of.

The family law attorneys at Sean Lynch have decades of experience with premarital agreements for a marriage. If you need help and advice about the negotiation, documentation, revision, or enforcement of a prenuptial agreement, contact them today. I credit their professional staff with setting us both down a path to a successful second marriage. 

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