The statistic is well-known: approximately half of all marriages end in divorce. What happens after divorce, however, is less reported on. According to the National Stepfamily Resource Center, 75 percent of divorced people will remarry at some point in their lives, and, unfortunately, those who do face even bleaker prospects: approximately 60 percent of remarriages also end in divorce.

With each remarriage, life can get more complicated. About 65 percent of remarriages involve children from a previous marriage, creating what are commonly known as blended families. This is why more than 40 percent of American adults have at least one step-relative, usually a child from a new spouse's former marriage or relationship. And with a new family comes new responsibilities and challenges, such as finances and planning for the future.

According to researcher Lawrence Ganong, the fact that only 20 percent of remarried couples discuss finances before they walk down the aisle means that money will be one of the most significant challenges they will have to overcome. "These families are so complex," he said. "Remarried couples are more likely to have multiple savings, checking and banking accounts than first-married couples, just to keep track of the money."

There are several steps that blended families can take to ensure they are financially set for the future. First, finances need to be discussed, and the spouses need to make a financial plan, taking into account any potential future money issues such as child support, legal fees, education, and other common costs. Second, ensure that all members of the new family are covered under health insurance and estate plans. Third, enlist the help of an expert to assist with steps one or two, relying on their expertise to protect the new family against future financial problems.

Source: USA Today, "Blended families require financial planning", Matt Krantz, 7 February 2011