Property Division and a Second Divorce

When a Massachusetts couple is engaged, the last thing on their minds may be how their property would be divided in the event of a divorce. No one want to start a marriage by planning for the details of property division in the event of divorce.

Unfortunately, statistics show that over 50% of marriages will not survive.  Couples walking down the aisle for a second or third time, should be aware that this number swells to 67%. Spouses who face a second divorce are more likely to take a greater financial hit the second time around.

One reason that a second or later divorce is potentially more financially damaging is simple: there is often less to be divided. One or both spouses may still be paying alimony or child support from a previous marriage. In addition, many people see a decline in their financial stability when a prior divorce forces the sale of assets such as a home or investments. There could also be tax implications as a result of selling off assets to settle a divorce.

Factor in a lethargic economy, a slowing job market and a persistent decline in home values, and it becomes easy to see how a second divorce can cause more financial damage than the first. The end of a second or third marriage may also come at a stage in a person’s life when retirement is on the horizon. Spouses may also be experiencing age related increased costs associated with health care.

The best approach to insulating against the harsh effects of a second or third divorce is prevention. A carefully constructed prenuptial agreement can take the sting out of a second or third divorce and insure that the process is less complicated.  A prenuptial agreement can also serve to protect assets that are brought into the marriage as well as outline issues of inheritance or inherited assets that may come into the marriage.

Fortunately, Massachusetts spouses who did not execute a prenuptial agreement can still find mutually acceptable solutions to property division if both parties are committed to working together. The key is to maintain a business-like approach, even when emotions run high. The decisions that you make now will have lasting implications for the future stability of both spouses, and your future should be the focus, not the past. To discuss your particular matter or to schedule a time to begin the process of drafting a prenuptial agreement, please contact the Law Offices of David M. Gabriel and Associates.

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