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"Walk, Don't Run to the Altar" says Attorney Ben Berkley

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Los Angeles, CALos Angeles attorney Ben Berkley says if you're thinking about getting married again, best to "kick the tires and take a look under the hood" before you tie the knot. "The sad truth is 70 percent of marriages end in divorce, and the second marriages are often shorter than the first," says Berkley.

DivorceBerkley started out as a divorce lawyer 31 years ago and has seen people dive into marriages that cost them both emotionally and financially. Second marriages can be even trickier than the first because people are bringing a lot baggage into the union.

"We had a client whose second husband of just a few minutes, was served with papers in a lawsuit at the wedding reception," says Berkley. "Talk about a way to start a new marriage. These are the kinds of things you have to watch out for."

Keep in mind, if your fiancé has legal problems, you'll be marrying them too.
"You go into the marriage thinking everything is going to be great," says Berkley. "And all of a sudden you find out he's drowning in debt and the bills can't get paid."

Berkley has recently authored a book called "Before You Say 'I Do' Again: A Buyer's Beware Guide to Remarriage" – time-tested advice for people considering another round of matrimonial roulette.

"Love is blind," says Berkley. However, the creditors aren't. "You really have to ask yourself if the person you're going to marry is financially stable and financially secure; you don't want to be haunted in your new married life by bill collectors or lawsuits."

"His lawsuit will now have an adverse income on her, or vice versa," Berkley adds.

"Take an inventory of the debts you have and think about how your expenses may change, sometimes for the worse when you re-marry," says Berkley.

By the way, Berkley says if your fiancé never opens his or her mail, it may be a sign they have debts they can't pay.

Although Berkley has done a substantial amount of divorce law, the firm is now more focused on people struggling to resolve social security and disability claims with government agencies.

In Berkley's experience over 75 percent of the initial application for disability claims is denied. "The government reviews it and says, no you're fine, you can be in the next Olympics in Vancouver. It is a frustrating situation for people."

"We do a lot of appeals for people, and in 60 percent of those appeals we're successful," says Berkley.

Ben Berkley earned his J.D. at Western State University. He specializes in estate planning and administration and social security disability. He is a network attorney for AARP members and an advocate for seniors' rights. He has books on estate planning, disability claims and divorce law.

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