THE BLOG
11/25/2014 05:39 pm ET Updated Jan 25, 2015

Avoiding Blended Family Warfare

There's no doubt about it -- second (and third) marriages are on the rise. Last week, Pew Research announced that 40 percent of all 2014 newlyweds had walked down the aisle before. If you are thinking about taking the plunge again, here are some planning tips to avoid common problems:

1. GET a PRE-NUP -- We all know that there is a 50 percent divorce rate. For second marriages, the statistic is closer to 60 percent. With fewer working years ahead of you, it will be harder to recover financially from a drawn out and costly divorce process. The pre-nup will clearly establish that you leave the marriage with what you brought into it.

2. Revisit your Estate Planning -- Even if you beat the odds and stay together, the marriage will end upon death. If the marital residence is owned by one party, he or she should insure that the survivor is not left homeless. No, one cannot necessarily rely on adult children to 'do the right thing' in this regard. The estate plan should also insure that one's adult children are not inadvertently disinherited. This occurs when a simple will leaves everything to the surviving spouse. Upon his or her subsequent death, the assets will go to their children, not yours.

3. Consider Long Term Care Insurance -- In order to protect your assets from your new spouse's possible long term care expenses, insurance is a must. Without long term care insurance, the laws of every state hold married people legally responsible for each others long term care costs.

4. Discuss spending priorities prior to the marriage -- One of the biggest sources of conflict in a second marriage has to do with financial help to adult children. If my new husband expects to pay for his daughter's (third!) marriage, I should know about this ahead of time. The same goes for big loans to children in trouble or co-signing grandkids student loans. All of these actions will affect the household budget and should be discussed on the front end. Tackling these potentially thorny issues in advance, will enable you to focus on honeymoon plans with a clear head.