Recent government statistics show that 34 per cent of all marriages involve someone who has been married before.
Remarriage was described as “the triumph of hope over experience” by writer Samuel Johnson. Sadly, statistics also show that remarriages are increasingly likely to end in divorce.
Protecting your assets
Couples who are marrying for the second time are likely to have more complex personal and financial arrangements than first time brides and bridegrooms. From a financial angle, they may have suffered financially from their first divorce and be worried about protecting their assets. If the couple come to the marriage with children from earlier relationships, they may want to keep money aside for education or for the children’s inheritance.
If you are paying a Maintenance Order from a first marriage this will still need to be paid after a second marriage, but you may be entitled to apply for a reduction depending on your financial circumstances. If you receive spousal maintenance from your former partner, this will end once you walk down the aisle.
Revisit your Will
If a remarriage brings two sets of children together, this time of change will inevitably require sensitive handling from both parents whilst the children adapt to the new arrangements.
A marriage invalidates any previously made Will, so it is vital to make a new Will after your second marriage and to review the financial provision for your spouse and children after your death. To reduce the possibility of your Will being contested, you can add a ‘letter of intent’ to explain why you have made your chosen provisions to your loved ones. This can be especially helpful where there are children from different marriages and step-children who have been treated as children of the family.
Pensions can be affected
Following a divorce, another area of concern particularly later in life, is likely to be your pension. Orders can be made over pensions on a second divorce. Whether a Pension Sharing Order is appropriate will depend on the individual facts of each case. Agreeing the distribution of pension benefits is one of the most complex areas of divorce, and it is vitally important that you are advised by a specialist family solicitor with experience in this area.
A spouse who has already been through a divorce should strongly consider using a Pre-Nuptial Agreement to try to make sure that heartache and financial impact can be minimised in the event of second a divorce and to protect assets for themselves or their children. Pre-Nuptial Agreements are becoming increasingly popular since the Supreme Court decided that, provided they are fair, that both sides have legal advice and there has been full financial disclosure, they could be used to make binding agreements about how assets should be divided on divorce.
A light hearted look at the benefits of marriage
Please click here for a light hearted but very valuable look at the Inheritance Tax benefits of being married.
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