Planning a wedding should be a time of great joy and hope for the future, and, as such, many couples cannot bear to think about worst-case scenarios such as divorce, but the reality is that spouses must safeguard their finances in order to avoid costly losses if they suffer relationship breakdown in the future.
George Ide’s family lawyers in Chichester can advise spouses, and spouses-to-be, on protecting their assets and finances in family law should the worst happen.
Prenuptial agreements are sound financial planning – Whether the wedding is still in the planning stages or the big day has been and gone, family lawyers can help their clients arrange matrimonial property agreements, otherwise known as prenuptial and postnuptial agreements to help safeguard their personal wealth in the event of a divorce. Although a court will not be required to stick rigidly to the terms of such an agreement, a sensibly-negotiated and well-drafted document can help guide a court in how to divide up the matrimonial property during a financial claim. But be warned, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements which attempt to disadvantage the other spouse will not be tolerated by the family court as they will always seek fairness in any claim on divorce.
Property dilemmas on divorce – Buying a house together as a married couple is probably the single most significant financial decision any person is part of in their lifetime. So, it follows that spouses should consider carefully how the ownership of the property is going to be apportioned should the relationship break down. And if one spouse moves into a property owned by the other spouse, the position of the party without property ownership-rights should also be considered carefully, especially if they are contributing to the upkeep of the home. Before entering into any agreement regarding property ownership, the couple should receive suitable professional advice and fully consider the ramifications of a death or divorce on their rights.
Planning for children – Most young couples will envisage having children at some point in their relationship and should plan carefully for the associated cost of childcare, schooling and associated costs. Some parents may wish to create investments for their children in the form of trusts etc, and each plan will need careful forethought and possible legal advice to ensure fairness and security. Plus, If one spouse, usually the wife, gives up a career to bring up children and maintain the home, this can have ramifications if the couple divorce in later years and any marital property agreement should recognise the merits of homemaking and child rearing in any planned settlement.
Pension planning, it’s never too early – Pensions are an important consideration and pension planning should begin at the earliest opportunity for both spouses. If one spouse has given up a career to bring up children and their pension pot looks like it may fall short when a divorce occurs, they should always seek a share of their spouse’s pension as part of the financial settlement on divorce.
Estate planning is as important as a pre-nup – The simple advice to anyone getting married is make a will. If a person dies without a will, their property and assets, whether owned solely or jointly, will be divided amongst beneficiaries by the government. Most people will have very definite ideas about what they want to happen to their estate and they must draw up a Last Will and Testament to reflect this. Under UK inheritance laws spouses do not automatically inherit everything when their husband or wife dies and this can be a very difficult and stressful thing to discover when coping with the grief of bereavement.
Yes, there’s a lot to think about when planning a wedding and as you start your life together as a married couple, so to ensure you and your family’s finances are secure you should talk to the family law team at George Ide.
To speak to a family lawyer at George Ide, please call our offices in Chichester, or, to find out more about our services, please click here.