Increased financial and emotional pain with second divorces

On behalf of The Walters Law Group, Ltd. posted in Divorce on Friday, July 20, 2012.

Divorced residents of Chicago likely understand how traumatic the process can be. Contrary to the assumptions of those who’ve avoided the process, a second divorce is not any easier on the participants. There is evidence that the financial and emotional pain actually increases. Unless you adopt the approach of many celebrities, “keep doing it until you get it right,” the pain of your first divorce doesn’t serve as an aid should you face a second one.

There are understandable reasons for the increased financial and emotional woes. The prime culprit: You are older, with more financial complexities and emotional “baggage.” If your first divorce was more akin to the “War of the Worlds,” than an amicable and relatively peaceful parting, your emotional stress level can further escalate.

Were you quite young when you had your first divorce experience? Did you have many assets, financial entanglements or much economic risk during your previous divorce? Probably not. Typically, the competition for your marital assets is much fiercer during a second divorce. If you’ve been married for years, the tug-of-war regarding retirement assets also can be debilitating.

To further complicate the issue, second divorces sometimes involve financial resources still being consumed from the first divorce. If child support and/or alimony were the focus of the first divorce, the parties may still have financial obligations that continue, increasing the complexity and stress of a second marital dissolution.

This is the reason experienced family law attorneys tout the creation of a prenuptial agreement, regardless of your assets, for second marriages. With a 67 percent probability of divorce for second marriages, the importance of prenuptial agreements cannot be overstated. The agreement need not be complex. A simple listing of the assets the two parties bring to the marriage and noting the assets each party will have at the end, should it happen, is simple, straightforward and works well for people with modest assets. The parties will also experience much less financial and emotional stress, should a divorce result.

How do you feel about having a prenuptial agreement, even if you do not have many valuable assets? Can you envision a reduction in financial and emotional distress with such an agreement in place?

Source: Reuters, “Second divorces multiply the cost and pain,” Geoff Williams, July 12, 2012