Members of the Woolley & Co team were asked what advice they would give to a couple about to get married to help protect themselves legally in case the worse should happen.
Sue Harwood, divorce & family lawyer Truro
I think if you consider that entering into a marriage is entering into a legal union, I think it is imperative that you take legal advice to understand how that is going to affect your legal position if that marriage ended. Especially if you are marrying for the second time or the third time, you may have children from a previous relationship that you may want to cater for by way of any future inheritance and I think it is really important that you understand how your new marriage is going to affect that.
Ian Giddings, divorce & family solicitor Coventry
Sometimes people don’t necessarily know what it could do to their position. For example, if you are remarrying after getting previously divorced, then how is your new marriage going to have a bearing on the assets that you have got? Is there anything that you need to do to perhaps protect those assets?
Karen Agnew-Griffith, divorce & family lawyer Thetford
If a couple asked me for advice before they were about to get married, I would say to them that I would congratulate them on the fact that they have decided to get married. They have obviously had the nice experience of falling in love and deciding on a future path. They now need to have a difficult conversation for “just in case” the worst happens and that difficult conversation should be how they should treat their financial assets, how they are going to practice raising their children, dividing up their assets, should the worst happen. And that might be if one of them dies or it might be if their marriage breaks down. So, they should, once they have had that difficult conversation, together, go and see a lawyer and find out what they need to do to make sure that if the worst happens they can know what their future then will be and plan for it.
Nick Wiseman, divorce & family lawyer Great Yarmouth
What I would say to them, whilst it might seem unromantic is consider whether you need to protect assets particularly if you are bringing assets or property into the marriage itself. Have an agreement. That might seem unromantic but I say to clients, look at it as an insurance policy. Hopefully you’ll never need it but it is there if you ever should.
A prenuptial agreement might be appropriate in many cases. More details about prenuptial agreements.