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Property division more complex in subsequent divorces

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When Maryland couples marry early on in life, say, in their 20s, they typically do not have much in terms of assets. They might be fresh out of college and just starting a career. However, when people divorce and get married again in their 40s, 50s or beyond, there is usually more at stake should that marriage also end in divorce. Because of this, it is important for anyone considering a second, third or subsequent marriage to take stock of their assets, and look into a prenuptial agreement.

As people get older, they are likely to accumulate more assets, such as homes, retirement accounts, pensions, stocks and bonds. Complicating this further is the fact that many couples come into marriages with children and even grandchildren. In the event of a divorce, this can make property division quite complicated without some form of legal agreement.

A prenuptial agreement can ensure that an ex-spouse does not get a family heirloom that was intended to be passed down to children or grandchildren. It allows each party to decide which assets the other should get in a divorce without a huge court battle. Nonetheless, prenups do not cover everything, such as estate planning details or beneficiary designations on policies or accounts, so it is important to ensure that all parties have their bases covered, so that there are no surprises later.

Close to 50% of first marriages end in divorce. The odds get no better. More than 60% of second marriages end in divorce, while close to three-quarters of third marriages dissolve. With these statistics in mind, a prenuptial agreement may be right for many couples. This is especially true when a divorce could involve complex property division.

Source: Reno Gazette-Journal, "Pershing: Getting married again can be tricky," Anne Pershing, July 1, 2014

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