Tying the knot after 50? Family law attorney says prenups especially relevant with gray divorce rising


With gray divorce notably on the rise, baby boomers are walking down the aisle again with plans for a forever second (or third) marriage. Jessica Woll, managing partner of Woll & Woll, P.C., a Michigan-based divorce and family law firm specializing in child-centric divorce? matters and complex family law issues, advises that it can be especially important for older couples to consider a prenuptial agreement for reasons that may not have been in play in a first marriage.

“Couples remarrying after the age of 50 each bring their own financial assets to the relationship; as a result, there are different factors to consider than with a younger couple approaching their first marriage,” Woll said.
“Further, there is often an issue of adult children on both sides of the equation who may get involved when a second marriage is dissolved. I’ve seen step-children try to lay claim to financial assets of the non-parent when the spouse in the second marriage dies or the couple divorces.”

According to Woll, a well-crafted contract can legally manage the special challenges presented to couples who are re-marrying later in life.

 “Matters such as retirement benefits, pensions, collection of social security, valuation of properties, insurance policies, wills, inheritance and alimony are very legitimate concerns. Protecting yourself is still important.”
Before wedding bells ring—again—couples should consider the benefits of a prenuptial agreement:

• Requires both future spouses to address any potential hidden liabilities in their personal finances

• Protects an individual’s long-term assets accumulated prior to the re-marriage

• Dictates how to handle certain assets—such as inheritance—that may be acquired during the new marriage

• Protects the children from the previous marriage and their rights to a portion of an individual estate or inheritance

• Saves a great deal of money in the event of another divorce

 “Longer life expectancies have given couples more options on how they want to spend their golden years, including a fresh start with a new spouse,” Woll said. “A prenuptial agreement can remove future ambiguity and uncertainty in the marriage contract and actually get the marriage off to an honest and open start.”

 Another consideration, Woll says, is unexpected inheritances.

“While one or both individuals in the marriage may not feel particularly wealthy or believe their assets require a pre-nup, they need to consider the possibility of an unexpected inheritance,” Woll said. “For example, it’s not unusual for people in their 50s, 60s and 70s to receive a significant amount of money through a long-lost relative’s will, or to discover they were named a beneficiary of a whole life insurance policy. A strong pre-nuptial agreement addresses such issues.”


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