Second Marriages and the Law
If you have already been married and are embarking on a second or subsequent marriage then there are important legal points that you should consider.
We know that the circumstances around a second marriage are almost always more complicated than the first. There are often children from previous relationships to consider, as well as assets you have acquired including property, savings, investments, pensions, and businesses.
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The best way to understand how your personal circumstances will change if you remarry is to speak to our specialist family solicitors. Ready to make an appointment now? Click here.
If you have gone through a divorce, you will be aware that relationships can break down. You will also appreciate how stressful and painful the divorce process can be, in particular when it comes to sorting out finances and assets.
We know that you will therefore want to do all you can to avoid this stress and ensure that you are fully protected, in the event of another divorce. The financial implications of a second divorce can be severe and need to be considered by both parties.
Marrying again will often require you to make difficult emotional, financial, and legal decisions. We use our experience in this area to help guide our clients through the decision-making process around remarriage.
How Remarriages Are Different
Remarriages are different to first marriages in a number of ways. From a personal perspective, you have been through the stress and pain of the end of one marriage, be it through a death or divorce. You are older now than you were when you first married, and you may be thinking more about safe-guarding your future. You might have children from previous relationships to consider in terms of your assets and their inheritance.
Upon your second marriage, you will need to create a new Will. Many people want to provide for their new spouse and children from a previous marriage, so it is vital you contact us to ensure that your wishes would be acted upon in the event of your death.
You will have to think about how your financial affairs will change. You have probably acquired more assets over time including property, business, pensions, investments, and even money from a divorce settlement. Many couples embarking on second marriages create a pre-nuptial agreement to protect both of their interests.
Second Marriages and Pre-Nuptial Agreements
What is a Pre-Nuptial agreement?
A pre-nuptial agreement is a written contract that is signed before a couple get married. It is designed to set out what a couple would like to happen to their assets and possessions should the marriage breakdown. Pre-nuptial agreements are not legally binding but when drafted fairly and properly are seen as influential by the courts and are often upheld by judges. There are circumstances such as the birth of a child and any illness or disability befalling one partner that will see a judge deviate from the pre-nup terms, and in many cases, the terms will be varied or cease to have effect after the marriage has lasted for a stated period or periods of time.
Should I consider a Pre-Nuptial Agreement for a Second Marriage?
If you have been through a divorce, you will be aware of how difficult the process can be. One of the most difficult parts is sorting out assets.
Most people remarrying are more realistic about the possibility of the relationship coming to an end, and more aware of the importance of agreeing mutually satisfactory terms in order to provide security for any children and avoid being left with nothing if the marriage breaks down.
Mediation and collaborative law are good options to help couples cover off all the more delicate points around a marriage, including agreeing upon pre-nup terms. In mediation, you can talk openly with your partner along with one of our trained neutral mediators to reach amicable outcomes. In collaborative law, you and your partner each appoint a collaborative lawyer and you all work together, primarily at meetings attended by the parties and the lawyers, to discuss and agree the terms of the pre-nup.
Second Marriages and Inheritance
Inheritance can be a complicated matter that needs to be considered when embarking on a second marriage. If you die then your assets will automatically pass to your surviving spouse. This brings up complications especially when you have children from a previous relationship. Speak to us today if you have concerns about remarriage and inheritance.
If you have children from a previous marriage, you will almost certainly want them to receive an inheritance in the event of your death. On remarrying, your children (and any grandchildren) will not automatically receive any of your hard-earned assets. Ordinarily your assets will automatically pass to your new spouse and their children rather than any children you might have.
You will need to take steps to ensure your wishes are honored with a new Will. If you leave your estate to your surviving spouse, it automatically becomes part of their assets on your death. Legal advice is essential in ensuring your children’s inheritance is protected.
Wills & Trusts
When you remarry, any existing Will you have written will become null and void. It is therefore important to write a new Will with a solicitor as soon as possible to ensure that your wishes will be honoured. You should consider what assets you want your new spouse to receive as well as any children you may have. You can also use Trusts to help provide for both your surviving spouse and your children / beneficiaries in the event of your death.
With over 125 years’ experience in helping individuals and their families, we are equipped with the knowledge to deal with all of the issues which must be considered when a couple decides to get married.
Your consultation can be in person at our offices, over Skype, or by telephone, to discuss the LPA process, your wishes, and how we can put them into effect.