Legalities of Love

Legalities of Love

The period between Christmas Eve and Valentine's is the most popular for engagements to take place according to an online survey conducted by stag and hen events specialist Chillisauce. This year the UK can expect to see 250,000 people get married with Valentine's Day tipped as one of the more popular days for a ceremony to take place.

When it comes to planning your big day most couples, quite rightly, will be thinking about the dress, the venue, who to choose as best man, and once married you're in a bubble of honeymoon bliss. While it may not be the most romantic part of getting married it's important you and your future spouse consider what may change for you legally when you say 'I do'

Changing your name?

After marriage neither spouse is legally required to take the other spouse name, many do for tradition but there are steps to take to make a name change.

If you have a Will?

Did you know getting married revokes a Will? Why wouldn't I want everything to pass to my spouse?

It is important to consider if you have children from a previous marriage or relationship that by not reviewing your Will you could put them at a financial disadvantage. Under current intestacy rules the first £250,000 of the deceased's estate will go to a surviving spouse, what happens to the rest depends on surviving relatives.

Consider the scenario

  • You have a child from a previous relationship
  • You have a long and happy marriage and own a property jointly with your spouse.
  • Unfortunately you die before your spouse.
  • On death, because you haven't made a Will all your assets pass to your spouse. The surviving spouse continues to support your child (you had been together so he looks upon him as his own).
  • Your spouse finds love again, and remarries, your Son supports this and is happy for the couple.
  • Unfortunately your spouse dies unexpectedly and because he hasn't made a Will all the assets transfer to his new spouse.

In this scenario your child has been left without any inheritance from your share of the estate.

Having a Will in place in the first instance, would have ensured that your child would have received the inheritance on your asset share.

It is more common to see blended families as a result of marriage, therefore it would be a mistake not to seek professional advice in connection to drafting Wills and estate planning.

Click here for more information on making a Will.

Why is it being suggested I consider a pre-nuptial agreement?

Many couple chose to share their finances when married, however should there be an imbalance in your assets, property, inheritance or family business you may wish to protect your assets with a pre-nuptial agreement.

A pre-nuptial agreement is an agreement between two partners about the ownership of their individual assets.

A Pre-nuptial agreement is particularly relevant if you are marrying into a family that has a business. It is common practice that the family would be advised to protect their business assets, which could be at risk should the marriage breakdown or death. Where the business had not been protected in a pre-nuptial agreement, the spousal share of the business would be classed as a marital asset that will be taken into account in the event of death or separation.

It would be advantageous to enter into a pre-nuptial agreement if there is substantial property owned or inheritance that has been left to one spouse prior to marriage and requires protecting. These agreements are becoming increasingly accepted by the courts subject to certain safeguards and are often an essential part of wedding planning.

What is a post-nuptial agreement?

A post-nuptial agreement is designed to deal with the same situation as a pre-nuptial agreement, however it is entered in once married rather than prior to the marriage.

Getting legal advice and paperwork in order is not preparing to fail, it is simply giving complete peace of mind that all your wishes will be catered for. Look at it as another tick off the wedding 'to-do list' before you head off to enjoy your happily ever after.

Click here for more information on pre and post-nuptial agreements.

To find out more or discuss your individual requirements in further detail, our dedicated Family Law Solicitors will be delighted to help. Contact us today on 01603 693500 or email us using the 'Make an enquiry' form. Appointments available at our Norwich, North Walsham, Brooke and Sheringham offices.