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Financial Planning For Blended Families

Divorce rates across the nation hover between 40 and 50 percent. In Texas, this converts to roughly 75,000 divorces per year. Many people are somewhat familiar with such statistics – reports on divorce rates are fairly common in the media.

Yet news about remarriage rates tends to go unheralded. The numbers are surprising. Simply put, it’s clear that remarriage is on the rise. The majority of divorcees remarry. There’s a bit of a gender gap –  64 percent of divorced men remarry, while only 52 percent of divorced or widowed women do so – but 40 percent of all new marriages involve at least one spouse who’s been married before, and there are at present 42 million Americans who have been married more than once.

As many of them likely know, retying the knot brings with it a range of concerns and considerations individuals may not have confronted previously. 

Blending a family, but keeping finances separate

In many cases, marrying anew requires blending a family. It’s no longer unusual for one or both spouses to bring children into a marriage. While such situations require that everyone involved adapt to new arrangements, parents and kids alike often find that an expanded family brings with it a great many benefits.

Nevertheless, when it comes to finances, parents often want to ensure their own children are protected and supported, and are unsure how to do so in the event of remarriage. They worry what will happen when their assets become marital property, and whether it’s possible to set aside certain holdings for their kids.

As remarriage becomes more common, so do prenuptial agreements

Such concerns may very well be why prenuptial agreements have, like remarriage, become increasingly common. These contracts are especially advantageous to blended families. Through a prenuptial agreement, spouses can delineate exactly how they would like the assets they bring into the new marriage to be passed on in the event of a subsequent divorce or death.

One may wish to leave all one’s belongings to one’s children. One may wish to provide safeguards for one’s spouse. One may wish to leave certain assets to their spouse’s children. No matter one’s wishes, a prenuptial agreement is a useful means to guarantee that they are met.

It is important, however, to work with a lawyer when drafting a prenuptial contract. Many couples try to establish such agreements on their own, only to find that they have failed to follow the legal process and their contract is not binding. In such cases, assets may pass on to individuals for whom they are not intended. A qualified attorney will be able to guide couples at every step, and help them make sure that their wishes are met. 

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