Should I Get a Prenuptial for a Second or Third Marriage?

A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding document that outlines the rights of each spouse if the couple gets divorced. Prenuptial agreements often touch on property and debt division, but they can cover many topics. If you are remarrying for the second or third time in California, it can be especially important to consider a prenuptial agreement. This is because it is likely that a second or a subsequent marriage will be more complicated than the first.

How Can a Prenuptial Help in a Second Marriage?

A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can be important in a second marriage for several reasons. First, you may have experienced from your first divorce just how difficult and messy a dissolution of marriage can be. A prenuptial agreement can help you avoid a lot of the stress related to a divorce case by dealing with common matters of contention ahead of time, such as the division of your marital property, while you and your spouse are still amicable and can compromise with each other. 

Second, you may have matters connected to your first divorce that you may wish to deal with proactively in your second marriage with a prenup. Since California is a community property divorce state that splits all marital assets down the middle, for instance, protecting your assets with a prenup in a second marriage can be important. If you received the family house in your first divorce, for example, having a prenup in your second could protect the house from being split with your fiancé should this marriage end in divorce, as well. 

Third, if you or your fiancé have children from prior marriages, there are special considerations that can be dealt with in a prenuptial agreement. For example, if either of you is still paying child support to an ex-spouse from a previous marriage, a prenup can decide whether these payments will be made out of separate or marital assets. Finally, a prenup can provide for the distribution of your assets in the event of your death – including distributions of wealth to children of a previous marriage.

Can a Prenuptial Agreement Outline College Tuition?

Yes. You can detail the terms of how you and/or your fiancé will pay for the college tuition of a child or children in different circumstances. For example, if you wish a certain percentage of your estate to pass to your children from another marriage upon your death to pay for college tuition, you can incorporate this into a prenup. A prenuptial agreement in California can also help you address the issue of one parent expecting the other to help him or her pay for college tuition for children from a previous marriage.

Even if you do not yet have children, if you plan on having kids, who pays for college tuition can be an important detail to consider when drafting a prenup in California. This is because the state’s child support laws do not automatically cover college expenses. Typically, a child support arrangement ends when a child graduates 12th grade or reaches the age of 19 – whichever comes first. If you wish your fiancé to have to share the costs of college tuition should your second marriage end in divorce, it is wise to include this in a prenup.

Get Professional Help With Your Prenuptial Agreement

You’ve been here once – or perhaps a few times – before. When you are engaged to be married, you never expect things to go south. Yet you have seen first-hand as someone about to get married for the second or third time how things can deteriorate quickly and unexpectedly. This time, protect yourself, your assets and any children that you have from a previous marriage with a strong prenuptial agreement. Hire a San Diego family law attorney to plan and draft your prenup for you to make sure that it adequately meets your needs.