Love May be Lovelier- but it is also a Whole Lot More Complicated the Second Time Around

Ben Affleck  and Jennifer Lopez appear to be giving Love another try.

They are not alone.  Record numbers of us spent some lockdown time searching for and connecting with old flames online.  With our lockdown partners showing the effects of our pandemic chips and wine diets, and otherwise driving us nuts, many of us are romanticizing the ‘Ones Who Got Away”

Before Unleashing life altering events into motion, please consider the following

  1. We might not thinking clearly as a result of the pandemic. I always urge clients to avoid making big decisions immediately after a death in the family or other trauma.  The pandemic has caused all of us to experience various degrees of trauma.
  2. Ask yourself whether your dissatisfaction with your spouse or partner is mostly a result of being cooped up together. Has their fitness and hygiene taken a hit?  Are they crabby and generally annoying?  Consider the very real possibility, that as life returns to normal, and we have the luxury of waving goodbye to each other in the morning, things will improve in the relationship.

On the other hand, if you were about to separate before the pandemic, and were unable to split because of lockdown logistics, then you can more reliably trust your decision to move on.

Record numbers of us will, one day, be in a second marriage.  The pool of eligible second marriage candidates is vast as a result of both the high divorce rate and increased longevity.   Before saying “I do” (again), there are a few planning issues that merit consideration:

Prenuptial Agreements  The divorce rate for second marriages exceeds 60%!.  Hammering out the legal and financial issues ahead of time can prevent much costly legal wrangling later.

Beyond establishing who gets what in the event of death or divorce, prenuptial agreements are increasingly being used to address financial issues within the marriage.  These so-called ‘lifestyle clauses’ can be used to establish spending priorities and parameters.   The parties should also agree on what level of financial integration they wish to have.  I also strongly recommend that the parties legally agree never to publicly disparage each other in the event of a future split.

Reexamine your Will and Trust– The competing interests here are typically one’s adult children and the new spouse.  There is an expectation that assets accumulated in the first marriage will, in some measure, inure to the benefit of the children of that marriage.   Failure to put things in writing greatly increases the likelihood of  Blended Family Warfare at Death.