With the latest Office for National Statistics survey showing that the average age of divorcing couples is 46 for men and 43 for women, it is no surprise that divorced couples may go on to find new partners they wish to marry later in life.
What are the complications when remarrying later in life?
Individuals may have accumulated assets and are more likely to have inherited money from relatives or even received money from a previous divorce settlement that they may wish to protect in the event of a subsequent divorce.
Couples marrying later in life may also have children, or even adult children and grandchildren, from previous relationships that they would like to benefit from their accumulated assets. A new Will should always be made if remarrying as any existing Will would be void unless made in contemplation of the marriage.
How would the court deal with assets in the event of a divorce?
Whilst divorce may seem unlikely when planning to remarry, this could affect resources that one party had intended to ultimately benefit children from a previous relationship.
First and foremost the court will ensure that the needs of children and both parties are met. The pension or income provision of both spouses and their respective housing needs will be very important. The court is unlikely to ring-fence assets for one party if there are insufficient financial resources to ensure that the essential needs of both parties can be met.
What steps can be taken to protect assets prior to remarriage?
If one or both parties have assets or income that they wish to protect in the event of a divorce they should consider entering into a pre-nuptial agreement.
A pre-nuptial agreement is a written contract that is signed before a couple marry setting out what will happen to a couple’s assets in the event of a divorce. Although they are not formally legally binding in England and Wales, meeting the following criteria will increase the likelihood of the agreement being upheld by the court:
1. Taking independent legal advice;
2. Making arrangements in good time before the marriage;
3. Providing full disclosure of the parties’ financial positions;
4. Reviewing the agreement at various stages and upon any significant change in circumstances; and
5. Ensuring that no undue influence is placed on either party to enter into the agreement.
Specialist legal advice should always be taken on the terms of a pre-nuptial agreement from an experienced solicitor. We appreciate the sensitivities of discussing such matters with a future spouse and we will advise you not just on the appropriateness of a pre-nuptial agreement in your circumstances but on the most constructive methods of agreeing the terms of the agreement with your partner.
For more information contact Natalie Hughes, Solicitor in the Family Team, on 01582 714186 or by email at Natalie.firstname.lastname@example.org.