Wedding Bells – celebration or warning?
We have just passed the most popular day in the UK to get married – 18th August. This means that many happy couples are now enjoying their honeymoon and thinking about spending the rest of their lives with each other.
Whilst I wish every such couple my very best wishes, I wonder how many of them have considered the possible implications if sadly things do not work out as planned, and they ultimately do not spend the rest of their lives together.
Whilst wedding bells are a reason to celebrate, they should also be viewed as a warning to at least consider the very realistic possibility that you may not get a happy ever after. I believe that being pre-warned is being pre-armed and therefore before the big day, obtaining independent legal advice on the consequences of a marriage breakdown is a sensible idea.
I appreciate that this does not sound very romantic, but it is very practical. You can both gain a full understanding of financial claims that will automatically arise as soon as you say “I do” in the event of a subsequent separation. You can also clarify the issues that may arise regarding your children should you later decide to part ways. By taking such advice you can then enter into one of the biggest decisions of your life with your eyes, as well as your heart, wide open.
A Pre-Nuptial Agreement may or may not be suitable for you in these circumstances. There are other alternatives that may be more appropriate for you, such as a Post Nuptial Agreement, or you may simple benefit from taking advice but no further action. The important thing is that by taking such advice, you can then make a reasoned and informed decision on what steps, if any, are right for you.
Vicki Rawlins is a Partner and Head of the Family team. She is based at our Bitterne Office and can provide specialist advice on Pre-Nuptial Agreements.
Catherine Day is a Senior Solicitor and is based at our Lymington Office. She can provide specialist advice on Post-Nuptial Agreements.