7 legal issues you should consider for a second marriage

1. Marriage contract – In a second marriage, your assets are better protected if you have a marriage contract. If you are not satisfied with the way that the law divides property upon death or separation, or if you have substantial assets that you wish to protect, you may wish to enter into a marriage contract.

2. Child support – Generally, your spouse’s financial resources from your second marriage won’t be taken into account when determining how much child support you should pay for your children from your previous marriage.

3. Spousal support – There is a possibility that the spousal support you pay to your former spouse may increase as a result of your second marriage. This is because one factor in deciding spousal support is your ability to pay. Since when you remarry your household may have additional income and shared expenses, your ability to pay may increase.

4. Financial disclosure – There is a possibility that your former spouse may be entitled to financial information about your spouse from your second marriage in certain circumstances.

5. Estate planning – Your second marriage revokes any existing wills, unless the will is made in contemplation of your new marriage. You should have a new will drafted for you, and possibly other estate planning documents such as powers of attorney for property and personal care. Now is a good time to change beneficiary designations on your RRSPs and life insurance policies.

6. Record keeping – You should make a list of all your assets and debts on the day of your second marriage, and gather up supporting documentation for each figure. You should keep these documents in a safe place.

7. Matrimonial home – Matrimonial homes are treated differently than other marital property upon death or separation. Normally, when you separate or pass away, the value of any assets you brought into the marriage is deducted from the property you must divide with your spouse. This is not the case with the matrimonial home. If, when you pass away or separate, you own the same matrimonial home as you did on the date of your second marriage, then you don’t get the deduction for its value on the date of marriage.

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