Are There Lessons to Be Learned from Bennifer’s Nuptials?

She’s still Jenny from the Block… but with a brand new last name. On Saturday, July 16, 2022 Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck tied the knot at a little white chapel in Las Vegas. This is not Jennifer and Ben’s first try at love: not only have they both been married and divorced in the past (this is Lopez’s 4th marriage and Affleck’s 2nd), but they were a serious couple back in the early 2000s.

couple getting married
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck said “I Do” after over 20 years of an on and off relationship on July 16, 2022.

Now they seem ready for the next chapter in their lives, but will it stick this time? And what lessons can those of us who are divorced and considering remarriage learn from Bennifer’s on again, off again love story?

A Love Story 20 Years In The Makinglove written in the sand

Lopez, 53, and Affleck, 49, met in early 2002 on the set of the movie Gigli and announced their engagement in November of the same year. They had a wedding planned for September 14, 2003, but postponed it just days before they were set to tie the knot. In a joint statement released at the time, they announced that  “Due to the excessive media attention surrounding our wedding, we have decided to postpone the date.” Ultimately, they broke up in 2004 and were never married – at least not to each other.

Past Relationships

Jennifer and Ben both moved on and were in different relationships for many years. In fact, they both got married and had children with other people after their breakup. Lopez married Marc Anthony in June 2004. She gave birth to twins Max and Emme on February 22, 2008, but the couple divorced in July 2011. Affleck married Jennifer Garner in June 2005. They had 3 children (Violet in 2005, Seraphina in 2009, and Samuel in 2012) together. Unfortunately they got divorced in 2015. 

Throughout the time that Lopez and Affleck were in different relationships, it was clear that they had remained friends and still cared about one another. In a 2010 appearance on the Graham Norton Show, Lopez said “I love Ben, he’s a great guy, but it was a lot for both of us to be under that type of siege for two years straight.” Not only that, but they were very public in their ongoing support of each other. For example, in 2020, Affleck responded to Lopez’s Oscar snub for her role in Hustlers by saying,  “She should have been nominated. She’s the real thing. I keep in touch periodically with her and have a lot of respect for her. How awesome is it that she had her biggest hit movie at 50? That’s f——- baller.” So, despite being broken up, they still had  two of the factors that help sustain a successful marriage: friendship and support. 

What Are The Odds?

It is estimated that in 2022 approximately 50% of all marriages will end in divorce. Not the most comforting statistic, but there is a silver lining. Statistics show that 70% of people who get a divorce will get married again at some point in their lives, much like Jennifer and Ben. If you’re among the 70% of people who will remarry, there is sure to be some skepticism that things will work out this time. But it’s important to stay optimistic and go into a second marriage with a level head and positive attitude, so that the second time can be the charm for you! 

wedding ring
The average cost of a divorce is $12,900.

It’s about more than just staying optimistic and hoping things will work out, though. You have to work at it. Consider the following tips:

  • Learn from your mistakes. Whatever reason your first marriage didn’t work out, go into your second one using your first as a lesson. How can you better communicate with your new partner? What are deal breakers that you couldn’t live with if you said “I do” a second time? In a second marriage, you are definitely  older and hopefully wiser, so use your experiences to thrive this time around.
  • Take your time. People often rush into their first marriage because their biological clocks are ticking, but if you’re like Jennifer and Ben, your baby making days are behind you, so there’s really no need to rush into marriage. Take a step back and enjoy your new relationship. Use this time to really assess whether marriage would be the right move this time around.

    According to the CDC, the US has a total of 782,038 divorces.
  • Get a prenup. Prenups have a bad reputation of taking the romance out of a marriage, but if this is your second marriage, you’re not laboring under any false illusions that marriages always last forever, or are all about starry-eyed romance. So, since money is one of the most cited reasons for divorce, it might be wise to eliminate that factor so you can focus on your relationship. If your partner doesn’t want a prenup and won’t even consider one, that should really make you think twice about whether they’re going into your marriage for the right reasons.
  • Seek marriage therapy. This isn’t your first rodeo, so you know marriage isn’t always rainbows and unicorns. Get ahead of potential arguments or points of contention by trying couple’s therapy. There are even remarriage counselors who are trained in helping couples who have been married before. Remarriage counselors help couples who want to develop healthy and realistic expectations. They lay a firm foundation for the couples’ new relationship.

If you’re curious if a new relationship, be it an old flame or a new one, could lead to a second marriage, just look at Jennifer and Ben’s story. Taking that leap of faith and tying the knot again, despite a previous divorce, is courageous! Hopefully that courage and faith will mean it’s more likely to work this time. You will have the experience, and will know what to look for (and avoid) so you can make your next marriage successful. Everyone deserves to be happy, and if marriage the 2nd or 4th time around will make you happy, go for it!

Hearing Wedding Bells? What You Need to Know if You’re Marrying Later in Life

Ah June. The weather can be lovely at this time of year, and there was a time when many young couples longed to hear the sound of wedding bells as the summer approached. But who says that love and weddings are only for the young? According to the U.S. Census, there are now more older married couples than there are younger married couples, and while one reason for this is that men are living longer, many people are actually meeting, falling in love, and choosing to get married over 50. There could be multiple reasons for this: more people are putting off marriage, more LGBTQ couples are deciding to take advantage of their relatively new ability to marry, and the divorce rate has been rising for decades, meaning there are more older singles looking for new relationships. This last reason might account for a lot of later-in-life marriages: Pew Research has found that around 53% of divorced people over 55 are remarried, including 67% of those ages 55-64. 

Whatever the reason, if you’ve decided to get married later in life, congratulations! But along with all of the emotional considerations that go into the decision to tie the knot, there are also a lot of more practical things that you need to think about before you walk down the aisle. You’ll need to:

Be Open About Your Finances

wrench pinching some coins with a calculator next to it and a paper underneath it.
Before getting married, talk to each other about your finances.

A big part of love is trust, and being open and honest with each other, right? Well, that’s just as true for your finances as it is for your feelings. You might have more savings and assets now than you did in your 20s, but you might also have more financial baggage – and your future spouse should know about it all. Take the time to go over both of your debts, assets, divorce agreements, and credit scores. 

Knowing all of this will ensure that you’re both prepared for what’s to come, and it could impact some of the big decisions you make together; for example, if your fiancé has bad credit, you could have trouble buying a house so you’d need to be clear on where you’ll live as a married couple. Or, if your fiancé has a comfortable retirement income but is saddled with debt, if they died, you would end up with the debt minus the income. In this case, you’d want to look into a good life insurance policy that names you as a beneficiary. 

In addition, you’ll want to have an open discussion about how to handle your joint finances, especially if you’re set in your financial ways or have young children from a previous marriage to take care of. Decide how you’ll share savings, bank accounts, paychecks, bill payments, investments, and any expenses related to your children. Consider having both a joint account and your own separate accounts so that neither of you feel like you’re losing your financial freedom!

Examine the Effect of Marriage on Your Taxes and Other Finances

Marriage can be a beautiful thing. It can also be financially advantageous, giving you tax, insurance, and social security benefits. But in some cases it can actually have a negative effect on your finances. For example, if you receive alimony or child support from a previous marriage, you could end up losing those benefits when you remarry. Marriage can also negatively impact your social security payments, especially if you didn’t work while previously married and are currently claiming spousal benefits that are significantly higher than what you would get on your own. calculator with a pen and paper with circles on it

When it comes to taxes, marriage can really help couples who have very different incomes, but couples who are both high earners could be hit with a “marriage penalty,” meaning they would pay more when filing jointly than they would individually. All of this is not to say you shouldn’t get married; you just need to be fully aware of how your finances could change once you’re hitched. 

Plan Your Estate

As you enter into a new marital relationship, estate planning is essential, especially if you have children from a previous marriage. You might think that your assets would be passed on to your children if you die, but this isn’t necessarily so. In fact, in many states, spouses are automatically entitled to up to half of your assets, and, if you want to pass on some specific assets to other parties, in many cases you’ll have to have your spouse sign a notarized beneficiary form. Make sure you update all of the following, and are clear about who the beneficiaries are and how much you want each to get:

Decide if You Want a Prenup

We’re so glad you’ve found your true love and we certainly don’t want to bring you down, but unfortunately, you do need to think about all possibilities. You should have a clear plan in case of divorce or death, and a prenuptial agreement might be just the thing to put both of your minds at ease. A prenuptial agreement, or prenup, is a written contract that you both voluntarily agree to that specifies how assets will be divided if you do end up getting divorced.marriage contract written on a piece of paper.But you don’t need to think about a prenup as a preparation for divorce; a prenup can be a great way to strengthen your will, and make sure your estate is passing to the right people. After all, in many states, your new spouse can claim an “elective share” of your assets in place of what they were left in your will. A prenup will ensure that your spouse cannot challenge your will, and that you get to make all of the decisions about how your assets will be divided ahead of time. According to Christine M. Searle, certified internal auditor and owner of Searle Business Solutions, “If you don’t have certain things arranged, the state gets to make decisions for you and that’s like dying without a will.”

Be Clear About Your Medical Wishes

End-of-life care is also an unpleasant topic to have to talk about, or even think about, but it’s another one that you should discuss with your partner before you get married. Many people assume that their spouse will automatically be able to make any decisions about their medical care should they be unable to do so themselves, but that isn’t necessarily true. Without an advance health directive that spells out your wishes, there’s no guarantee that your new spouse will be able to direct your doctor about your care. 

According to Kelley C. Long, CPA, a Chicago financial planner with Financial Finesse, “You need to be very clear in writing what your wishes are so your new spouse and your adult children don’t end up at odds over your care.” As with all of the considerations we’ve looked at above, the most important thing is to be clear, open and honest about your wishes, and speak with the whole of your newly extended family about how you want both financial and medical decisions handled.

Whether you’ve got a second (or third!) chance at love, or you’re embarking on this journey for the first time, there’s no doubt that it’s an exciting time. Enjoy it! Take this time to feel like a kid again – but don’t forget to deal with all the grown-up stuff surrounding your new marriage!