Marriage is a big commitment and a major step for many people. However, if you’re getting married after 40 with kids, it’s an even bigger step to consider. After getting over your initial divorce or loss of a spouse, finding love again is a great thing, but now you have to deal with blended families. As you navigate this time with your future new spouse and stepkids, you have to make some important decisions before those nuptials.
Planning Your Estate
You don’t need to be a millionaire to hire estate planning attorneys. Your estate consists of any assets or variables that you have that you want to pass down to your children one day. However, if you’re getting remarried after 40, you should consult with an estate attorney as you may have to make some adjustments or set some boundaries with what your new family may or may not inherit. If you have an existing Will, Trust, or other document, you’ll have to make some adjustments due to your new marital status.
Second marriages can create a lot of turmoil when it comes to assets that one or both spouses may have had before their union. In the event of your passing, while still remarried to your second spouse, you want to ensure your children from the previous marriage are taken care of. While you may not predict there will be a fight over your will, cars, jewelry, artwork, and other assets, people often can change and fight over many trivial things when a loved one has passed. If you know that you want to leave your belongings to your children and any children they have, make sure that’s specified in any asset documents.
You should also be aware of your future spouse’s plans with estate planning. It’ll make things easier if you both agree on how to divide assets and if you’re both fine with not changing your line of succession when it comes to who your direct heirs will be upon your passing.
Protecting Your Assets
Getting married after 40 means understanding wealth preservation. At this point, you’ve likely been working for several years and may have accumulated various types of assets. Before you visit your estate planning attorney, take a good look around your house to your documents and try to list as many assets as possible.
Your assets can include your entire retirement accounts, financial investment in the stock market, rental properties, vacation properties, vehicles, an art collection, and precious metals. It’s important to understand how your assets will be affected by your new marital status. For example, as retirement accounts continue to accrue interest or if you continue to make money in stocks that you bought before your marriage, how will that be affected with a spouse and stepkids? Will you be obligated to share the residuals with them in a divorce or if you die before your new spouse does?
What are the laws when it comes to these types of money concerns in the state you live in? Do you and your new spouse plan to move to a new area? If so, how will the financial and inheritance laws of a new state affect your estate planning and the benefits that your spouse or stepkids may get? Your estate planning attorney can help you navigate all of these wealth preservation concerns that come with getting remarried after 40 with children.
Dealing With Your Last Wishes
While getting remarried after 40 can be an exciting time for you and give you a new leash on life you still must think about planning for your end of life. As you update your wishes with your estate attorney, you should also discuss with both your estate planning lawyer and your new spouse how you want things to be handled as you grow older and eventually pass on.
At this time, you should be discussing health care directives. In other words, how should your new spouse, children, and stepchildren respond if you become incapacitated? Do you want to make it clear that you shouldn’t be resuscitated if doing so would not help you sustain the quality of life that you’re used to? Make sure you also understand your new spouse’s wishes in terms of how you should handle them possibly becoming incapacitated.
As you enter into your second marriage, you and your spouse should clearly outline any expectations regarding your wealth and medical care expectations. You should also specify how much say your children would have in making decisions about your end of life. Should your new spouse have the power of attorney and be able to make all the final decisions, or do you also want your children to have a hand in that?
Making Custody Arrangements
If you’re divorced, as opposed to being a widow or widower and you have underage children, then you might have to rearrange the custody agreements you had with your living ex. You should also make sure that your new spouse is on the same page with any custody changes that you have in mind. Of course, you should always make sure that you put your children the best interest first.
In other words, if your ex-spouse has been having issues maintaining co-parenting duties, you may be planning to change the custody agreement. Before you jump the gun to apply for full custody of your children, make sure that it is fine with your new spouse. Before you make such a decision, make sure you go to a family lawyer to see what your best options are.
Deciding on Education for Your Children
Getting remarried after 40 means dealing with education for both your children from a previous marriage and stepkids. This can become a sticky situation if you and your future spouse don’t agree on a type of schooling that is best for them. Do you want all of your kids to go to the same school if they’re at the same grade level? Maybe you’re perfectly fine with kids staying at existing separate schools. Or maybe you were both in disagreement on public schools versus private preschool options versus boarding schools. Has homeschooling come into the conversation, or is that completely out of the question?
As part of a blended family, thinking about the education for your underage children or college-bound ones is a major step that you must take. It can be a difficult decision as you both may have different ideas about what education means. Before you and your future spouse fight over this issue, don’t forget that you may have to include your ex-spouses and the decision if they share custody of the kids. Whatever the final decision is on education, make sure it’s something that benefits all the kids, even if it means going to separate schools.
Considering Family Health Concerns
Of course, you and your spouse want to ensure that all of your children are happy and healthy and grow into vibrant adults. So getting remarried after 40 with children can mean that you have your work cut out for you when it comes to dealing with child health care. With your blended family, you may now have to update any health insurance and dental plans that you have. So you and your spouse may want to shop around for the best health and dental plans that won’t break the family budget.
Don’t forget to address any potential health concerns that can affect you and your children. Both you and your spouse should be open and honest about any past or lingering health concerns that can affect your family. For example, do your children or future stepchildren have any potential chronic diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure? Will you have to plan visits to a childrens endocrinology specialist? How about your health or the health of your future spouse?
After all, dealing with a sick child can be hard on any parent, especially when you’re mixing a blended family. For example, your children from a previous marriage may feel like you’re not spending as much time with them as before if you’re dealing with an ill stepchild. So make sure your family gets together and understands the health needs you all may have.
Considering Unexpected Events
Getting remarried after 40 means being prepared for surprises in your household. So you must be prepared for any emergencies or worst-case scenarios that may pop up. Do you know the contact information for an emergency dentist? If you have children or stepchildren who are active in sports, a knocked out or loose tooth is a common injury, especially if they’re not wearing a mouth guard. What about your local emergency clinic? Children can fall and break bones at any time, whether they’re riding a bike, running around, or doing other activities at school. How about a national disaster? Do you and your family have a go bag, emergency supplies, and knowledge of what to do in the event you have to evacuate your home quickly?
Creating Space for Everyone
Part of getting remarried after 40 involves figuring out how you and your spouse will move all of your stuff in together. After all, you have a collection of things from your lives and your children and have to figure out how you can occupy the same space. Will your spouse be moving into your home or will you be moving into their home? Will you both be selling your existing homes and buying a new home together to start over?
You both may want to invest in hiring a home remodeling company. These professionals can come up with the right innovations that can accommodate you and your new family. After all, updating the home can always be a fun time for everyone, and you can also get the children involved. Whatever you do, don’t just have one spouse decide on the new house and everyone else just moves in. You may inadvertently end up creating resentment before your family can get started.
Introducing the Family Pets
It’s no secret that pets are part of the family. Do you and your children have beloved fur babies? How about your future spouse and future stepkids? Getting remarried after 40 not only means blending your family of kids but also your pets! While you may be stressing out over how the kids will get along or how the stepkids will take to the other parent, you also need to think about how your family pets will get along in the same household. Remember, pets are highly capable of not only making friends with other animals but also making enemies!
As your animals become accustomed to one another, you may want to consider using kitty or doggie daycare to house them temporarily while you transition to a new household. Regardless of your pet’s temperament, they still have emotions and can suffer anxiety when they’re in a strange situation. Be considerate of how this new arrangement will be for your pet and the pet in your new spouse’s household before you force them together. Be prepared to keep your animals in different rooms for a little while until they become adjusted to their environment. You may also want to buy your dog or cat some extra toys and treats to make them feel more comfortable.
Getting remarried after 40 with kids is a big decision that comes with many important considerations. As you make this transition in your life, you should enjoy it, as creating a new family can be a beautiful thing. Just remember that you and your new spouse have your work cut out for you. Luckily, there are many professionals that you can consult with, such as your estate planning lawyers, healthcare professionals, educators, home renovators, and so many more. Just remember to take this seriously and understand that you’re not the only one involved in this remarriage. Enjoy your new marriage to your new love and remember to consider how your children feel. By considering the above steps, your family will have a joyous household.