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Prenuptial agreements can help older couples in divorces

Spouses in Massachusetts and around the country must contend with a number of issues in a divorce. While this is true of all divorcing couples, the relative weight of the issues may vary according to the couples' age. For example, young parents will be intensely focused on child custody and support. For older couples with adult children, however, other issues will take center stage.

Studies show that a number of older Americans are choosing to remarry after a prior divorce or the death of a spouse. Data also reveal that a number of remarriages are ending in divorce. A person who is married for the second or third time is statistically more likely to become divorced than someone married for the first time. In addition, twice as many people over 50 are getting divorced today than they did 20 years ago.

Older couples contemplating marriage should therefore consider how a divorce could affect their property. By the time some people reach age 50, they have saved and accumulated assets that they intend to sustain them in retirement, and they will continue to add to those assets over their remaining working years. A divorce may entail a property division that can significantly alter a person's financial planning for retirement.

Older couples can guard against this occurrence by executing a prenuptial agreement. Potential spouses can mutually establish which of their assets will be protected if they later happen to divorce. But couples should take care when creating one. State law imposes certain requirements in order for a prenuptial agreement to be valid.

Source: Fox Business, "Remarrying After 50: Financial Tips Before the Big Day," Casey Dowd, Mar. 22, 2012.

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