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Legal Watch-Outs for Remarriage After Divorce in Michigan

Posted on in Divorce

Farmington Hills divorce lawyer, Michigan divorce, business and divorce, parenting time agreements, estate planning and divorceFirst marriages tend to be colored by the innocent blush of first love and all the fun of planning a big wedding and choosing cakes, dresses, dinner menus, and flowers. Second marriages, on the other hand, are often shaded with more doubts and concerns, particularly on the financial front. Consider the following issues that second-marriage partners should discuss, sooner rather than later.

Obligations Related to Prior Marriages

It is not uncommon for one or both partners in a second-marriage situation to have debts, child support, and/or spousal support obligations from a prior marriage. Remarriage may also be a reason to revisit and possibly modify modify support obligations and parenting time agreements, particularly if the remarriage also involves a change of residence and/or job.

Couples planning to marry should be honest and transparent about those obligations, so they can make informed decisions about how they will handle their finances going forward. One spouse may be picturing a big new house or luxury vacations, not realizing how much of the other person’s income is tied up by pre-existing obligations. There may even be some resentment about how much is left for the new spouse, and that should be discussed and dealt with prior to a wedding.

How Remarriage Affects Social Security Benefits

Divorced spouses have certain rights to Social Security benefits earned by their exes. Those rights disappear upon remarriage. If your ex earned significantly more than you did, and you are nearing retirement, you should investigate how much you may stand to lose if you remarry.

Inheritance Considerations in Second Marriages

It is particularly important for spouses in a second marriage to have wills, thus ensuring the desired division of property between a surviving spouse and any children or other surviving relatives. In Michigan, in the absence of a will, the surviving spouse receives the first $100,000 or $150,000 of the estate plus half of the remainder, with the rest divided amongst the decedent’s children. If the decedent had no children, three-quarters of the remainder of the estate goes to the surviving spouse and one-quarter goes to the parent(s) or siblings of the decedent.

To avoid future arguments, specify what should happen to family heirlooms and other assets, such as a family business, that have been traditionally passed down through a bloodline.

If some assets are intended to be an inheritance for children of a prior marriage, be sure those assets are kept separate and not commingled with marital assets. Consider setting up separate trusts to hold assets intended for each spouse’s children.

Be sure to update beneficiaries on retirement accounts and insurance policies right after a new marriage. A will does not override the designated beneficiary on those documents.

Trusted Divorce and Family Law Attorneys in Southeast Michigan

Most people do not think about consulting an attorney before getting married. But if you have children and other obligations from a previous marriage, it is important to understand all the legal ramifications before entering into a new marriage. For example, you may need to petition the court to relocate or modify support and parenting time agreements. Consult an experienced Farmington Hills divorce lawyer for guidance. Call Elkouri Heath, PLC at 248-344-9700 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a knowledgeable divorce lawyer at our Novi, Michigan office.

Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/markeghrari/2017/06/02/second-marriage-and-estate-planning-5-things-you-may-not-have-considered/#5d3070a71db1

https://www.fidelity.com/viewpoints/personal-finance/estate-planning-for-second-marriages

https://www.thewealthadvisor.com/article/dWhethivorce-death-and-remarriage-protect-your-assets-your-spouse

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/26/how-getting-married-can-mess-up-your-social-security.html

http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(ifm0po5rigr3wehl0pb5otvc))/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=mcl-700-2102

Oakland County Bar Association State Bar of Michigan Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan WCCDBA Woman Lawyers Association of Michigan
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