Get a pre-nup for a second marriage

Before getting married, it’s really important to look at your financial situation, together. You should pull credit history reports with your significant other, as well as looking at the last few months of bank statements, pay stubs, and W-2s. (just like applying for a mortgage!) You should also talk about spending and saving amounts. If you have spreadsheets, you should share them with each other. You should go through this full disclosure process before getting married, even if you don’t sign a pre-nup. If your assets or income are really disparate, you should consider signing a pre-nup.

If you’re young, have never married before, and have no kids, a pre-nup is a nice to have. You could end up getting divorced, but you could not. If you have been married before and perhaps your previous spouse died, you should strongly consider either signing a pre-nup or living together without legally getting married. This time around, it’s less a worry of ending up in divorce court and more a concern of your children and how they will have to deal with your new spouse’s financial situation after you have passed away.

The death of a parent is difficult enough to deal with without having to sort through an extra set of children wanting their “fair” share of the family money or a new spouse spending away yours and your previous spouse’s hard-earned savings.

With a pre-nup, you could live happily with your new spouse until you pass away, but since the accounts and the money are all separate, everything would tie up nice and cleanly after your passing, leaving your new spouse with their savings and making your passing less complicated for your children to work through the estate.

 

For me? For a first marriage? I think that I would be sure to go through the full disclosure process of a pre-nup before deciding to sign one or not. I agree that finances should be a single pot when you’re married, but I don’t necessarily believe that family inheritances should be single pot. Family inheritances should be between you and your sibling, not between you, your spouse, your sibling, and your sibling’s spouse. It’s possible with the level of assets that I’ve developed for my age, that a future spouse’s assets could be quite different from mine.

We’ll see, but I definitely know that if I want to get married a second time, I will either get a pre-nup or just live common-law with the person. A relative in my grandparents’ generation lived with a significant other after their first spouse passing away for many years – my sibling and I even called them both ‘Aunt’ and ‘Uncle’ and didn’t realize or care that they weren’t married until we were in our twenties!

Readers, how do you feel about pre-nups for a first marriage? What about a second marriage?

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22 thoughts on “Get a pre-nup for a second marriage

  1. Why on earth would a person get married a “first” time? Better not to get married at all if you’re not intending on it being permanent.

    • Marriages can end “early” with a premature death of one spouse, not necessarily by divorce. You can intend on it being permanent, but your spouse could develop cancer and die in their 50s when your marriage was still happy. That’s what I was referring to by first marriages.

  2. This is tough as it such a case by case issue. However, regardless of the situation- if you are considering one, discuss it very early on. I’ve heard several situations where they got brought up at the 11th hour. Not only does it cause a lot of stress but there can be issues as to whether last minute prenups are binding.

    • I agree – if you’re going to get one, you should do it within a few months of being engaged, not anywhere near the date of the wedding. My boyfriend and I talked about it a bit when we did some initial financial disclosures, but I don’t think we’re anywhere near that level of financial disclosure yet.

  3. Well, we didn’t get a pre-nup. Not much point since we didn’t have more than 2K to our names. (I guess we had -8K if you include DH’s student loans.) I sure hope there isn’t a second marriage, but yes, probably living in sin or a pre-nup. There’s children involved now.

    • Haha, I think things are serious, but not that serious. This is in response to a complicated situation a friend is going through because of death after a second marriage.

  4. I thought I would get a pre-nup but we didn’t. Bit late now! I brought in about 100K in cash and stocks into the marriage and he had approx the same, but some of those assets were inherited and I honestly don’t want to have anything to do with those assets. I wouldn’t want anything to do with any future inheritances should they happen, either. As you say, you think that inheritances should be between the siblings of the inheriting line. That’s fair, I agree. Not my parents, not my business, not my money, I don’t want to touch it at all.

    However, this raises some interesting questions about the future and expectations because I brought in assets that I earned and expected to set aside for the care of my parent(s). So there’s that question of what you’d expect to do with money that’s in the mutual pot. If it’s shared, how shared is it really? Hm.

    Would you feel like, if you brought a significantly higher amt of assets into the relationship, you should have a greater say over the future disposition of the shared assets? Or a greater vested interest? Or do you feel like once there are shared goals, that’s good enough to distribute the money as you go forward?

    • I agree – this is such a complicated subject that I don’t know if I would want one without knowing the other person’s specific financials. I like your questions – interesting food for thought! I think it would be weird if one person had say $500k in assets and the other person had $50k in assets and then all future stuff was common pot, but the past stuff was single pot? That would be weird, wouldn’t it? Hmmm.

  5. The boy and I have had this convo before, and he was fine with my wanting a pre-nup before marriage as I had much more assets than he did. But, for me, this is starting to change as the difference in assets get smaller, and I have complete control over all the finances, so there shouldn’t be any surprises when we get there. So maybe it is also affected by how the finances are handled by the couple? Definitely a tough situation indeed.

    Also, I think its awesome (and kind of hilarious) that you guys are talking about pre-nups and such as ‘preliminary financial disclosure,’ yet I know some couples who have been together for years and years and have no idea what their partners’ financial situation is! :)

    • Interesting that you wanted one, but that things have evolved over time to possibly not consider one anymore!

      Heh, well I think we both tend to think about these things more than normal people, so we just talk about stuff as part of normal conversations. Like, we both know how much rent, mortgage, income etc. are and we’ve talked about our utility bills and cell phones and stocks and retirement accounts. Who knows, maybe things will be similar enough to not warrant one! I think that finances are pretty important in a long-term, serious relationship, so it’s good to start simple conversations early :)

  6. I’m torn on this subject because I don’t think it’s a good start to a marriage to ask for a pre-nup haha. At the same time, 50% of marriages end in divorce and if one person is coming into the marriage with a ton of money then what? That’s the situation I’m in, what should I do? haha

    • You should never ask for a pre-nup too close to the wedding date – that’s something you should discuss near the beginning of the engagement. I honestly don’t know what to do, but it’s definitely something I would consider if/when I get married depending on the asset level of my partner. I personally don’t think I would feel comfortable with someone else walking away with 50% of my hard-earned and saved money in the case of a divorce if I say came into the marriage with $500,000 in assets and they had $50,000.

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