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Why prenuptial agreements are important in remarriage

According to a 2013 study, in 40 percent of new marriages, at least one of the spouses has been previously married. Financial analysts say that for these couples, prenuptial agreements are particularly important. While many people are concerned that bringing up the subject of a prenuptial agreement can create issues of distrust, it's better than fighting later about what belongs to whom.

Financial experts recommend that when couples marry later in life or for a second or subsequent time, they keep any assets they had prior to the marriage separate, and co-mingle only the income or other assets they acquire during the marriage. If one spouse enters the marriage with significantly more assets than the other, the prenup can designate that the other spouse will get an amount of money that will allow them to live comfortably in the event of divorce or death.

When people remarry, ex-spouses may be entitled to a share of their money as well as children for whom they may still provide support. A parent may have promised to leave certain assets to exes or children after death. A prenup can lay all of that out, helping children, former spouses and other family members feel more secure.

Of course, it's best if this is done in conjunction with an estate plan that stipulates the same things. If you already have an estate plan, you will likely need to modify it when you remarry. If you don't have one, this is a good time to draw one up. In fact, one divorce financial analyst says, "I try to approach prenuptial agreements as an estate planning tool rather than a divorce planning tool. That makes it more palatable to people understanding the importance of it and agreeing to sign one, particularly in second marriages."

It's best for couples drawing up a prenup for both parties be represented by his or her own attorney. This helps ensure that both people's interests are protected and reduces the risk of a prenup being challenged in court later. A Tennessee family law attorney can advise you as you work out a prenup.

Source: The Detroit News, "Prenups can help ensure remarriage bliss," Tim Grant, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Aug. 14, 2016

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