Legal aspects you need to consider before getting married

29th July 2021



 

As wedding season is upon us and we see the long-awaited return of ceremonies, we look at some of the Legal aspects you need to consider before getting married.

Getting married should be one of the most memorable days of your life and as it is one of the biggest milestones, there is a lot of pressure to make everything perfect.

It is so easy to get caught up in the magic, so we share with you matters you ought to consider from a legal aspect before tying the knot.

 

Getting married abroad

It is becoming increasingly popular to seek the sun and marry abroad. As good as this sounds, you need to remember to check that your marriage will still be recognised under English law. This will require some research on your behalf before finalising the booking.

Given that COVID-19 is a pandemic faced by countries all around the world we suggest special care and attention should be paid when booking a wedding abroad. With travel restrictions in place and government controls changing so often, it may be worth reconsidering your options with regards to such a special event.

 

Money and property

Money is always a tricky subject to broach, but it is an important one. A lot of couples choose to have a shared bank account, this can however, lead to some controversy later down the line. Both parties legally have equal rights to the funds in a joint account and therefore could lead to trouble if the marriage falls apart and both individuals want access to those funds.

Make sure that you and your partner have an agreement on the money situation, along with property rights and anything else of that nature. This is vital when thinking about marriage and so should be something you consider before the big day, it certainly should not be an afterthought.

 

Prenuptial agreements

You should bear in mind that a prenup is not automatically legally binding in England, so special care and attention should be given to preparing such documents to have it upstand in court should married life not go as planned.

We appreciate it might not be the most romantic or comfortable subjects to discuss but a prenuptial agreement is something that should be taken into serious consideration when planning a wedding.

This is particularly important where there is an evident gap in how wealthy the bride and groom are in comparison to one another.

Some people prefer to share their finances once married whilst others would prefer to safeguard significant wealth accrued prior to the marriage, therefore keeping it separate and having a prenuptial agreement in place could work out for better should a divorce ever happen. Our Family & Matrimonial team could support you with a Prenuptial agreement. And advise you in detail around the law and various matters to consider.

 

Taxes

Once married, couples can transfer assets between one another without having to worry about capital gains tax. Many couples make the most out of this however, considerations should be taken as this can affect certain aspects of a divorce settlement.

 

Changing your name

Since it is traditional, a woman changing her surname to match that of her husband does not need to be changed by deed poll, though you will have to check with certain organisations, such as your bank on what personal documentation they require for the name to become official.

It is becoming increasingly popular for both parties to change their name, often into a double-barrelled surname, but this needs to be done legally via deed poll. This is also the case if the bride wants to take her husband’s surname but keep her maiden one as a middle name.

 

Pension

Once married, you get new rights with your state pension and you can change the nominated beneficiary to your partner on your private pension. Regulations are always changing with regards to pensions, so it is best to keep on top of any changes.

 

A Will

Again, this might sound quite unromantic, but is something that you really need to factor in when you get married. A lot of UK residents do not actually have a Will, if you do not have one, we recommend looking at this as a priority.

If you do have a Will, it is important to note that it will be automatically revoked upon marriage and therefore it would be important to review what changes may need making and update your Will accordingly.

 

It makes sense for newlyweds to have something legally binding in place to ensure your loved ones, be it your children or spouse are looked after should for any reason, you sadly pass away. If you have any questions with regards to Wills or Trusts, our specialist team can advise.

 

If you have children, how will it affect them?

If you already have children from a previous relationship, you need to consider whether you are going to change their legal guardianship once you are married. This is something that will have a major impact on them and you cannot make such a decision without the consent of the other biological parent, so you need to make sure you talk to them about it and discuss the situation. We advise parents to reach an agreement that is in the best interest of the children. Should you have any questions around a collaborative approach, or you require any support, our Family team can offer help and advice. 

Many parents are unaware of a law affecting people who got married after having a child. The law states that they should re-register the birth of their child even though the natural father is already identified on the child’s Birth Certificate.

There is a government form which relates to this matter called a LA1 form. The form declares “If you are the child's natural parents and are now husband and wife, you must fill in the details and sign this form.”

There is no cost for the re-registration and although it is largely unheard-of, parents can be fined if it is not carried out.

The purpose of the re-registration is so that the child is proven as a “child of the marriage” it does not affect the paternal rights or either parent, but the father must have been named on the original Birth Certificate. You can read more about this on the GOV.UK website.

It is evident there is a lot to consider when getting married and we urge you to do your research prior to the big day.

Here at BHP Law, we have specialist teams that can support you through anything included in this article, should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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