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Avoid wedding woes with our matrimonial guide

21/05/2018

Getting married is one of the most exciting times of your life – just ask the world’s most famous newly weds Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, aka the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

As well as settling down for a rosy future with the love of your life, there’s a day of celebrations with your nearest and dearest to plan for. So it’s no surprise that sorting any legal matters might drop down the list as planning the reception, choosing outfits and choosing a honeymoon take priority.

Associate Rachel Bloxwich from our Family team looks at some of the issues you might need to consider as you prepare to march down the aisle:

1. Pre-nupital agreement

Although it’s not the most romantic declaration of love before you settle down to wedded bliss, making a pre-nuptial agreement is a sensible way to avoid potential conflict down the line.

With people marrying later and an increasing number of second or subsequent marriages, couples may already own their own home or other assets when they tie the knot and want to protect them in the event of a divorce.

Although pre-nups are not legally binding in the UK, courts are now increasingly willing to take them into consideration. It may be tempting to cut costs and do it yourself but pre-nups are unlikely to carry any weight in divorce proceedings unless they are correctly prepared. 

Both parties should take independent legal advice and update their agreement regularly should their situation change, such as having children.

2. Where there’s a will

At the beginning of marriage, the ‘til death us do part’ vow is, hopefully, a distant spectre on the horizon. 

But with alarming statistics that only 64 per cent of people aged over 55 have made their final wishes clear in a will, this should be top of the to-do list post honeymoon. Many people assume that without a will, their spouse would inherit everything but that’s not always the case.

It depends on how your assets are owned, the size of your estate and what other family members there are, such as children. The intestacy rules dictate who gets what if there is no will, so to ensure your assets will pass to your spouse, it’s advisable to make a will.

3. Documentation

With overseas weddings remaining as popular as ever, do your research about what documentation may be required to let the wedding take place.

Some countries require official confirmation that you’re free to marry so make sure you have all the correct paperwork in place before you fly away for the big day.

4. Children

If a romantic wedding on a Caribbean beach is in your sights, and you have children from a previous relationship, make sure you have the agreement of the other parent. It’s advisable to take official documentation that outlines your parental rights and any agreement from the child’s other parent with you in case you’re questioned at Border controls.

This is especially important if you are travelling with a child or children who may have a different surname to you on your passport.

Rachel specialises in all aspects of family law and has gained extensive knowledge in divorce and separation cases, financial matters and can advise on the arrangements for children. 

For more information, contact Rachel on 01902 392454 or r.bloxwich@fbcmb.co.uk

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