Remarrying – Why You Should Plan More Than Just the Wedding

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Congratulations to Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton who recently got married after around 5 years together. This will be Gwen’s second marriage and Blake’s third marriage, which just goes to show that there can be life after divorce and that there is always time to start a new chapter.

We know this from our experience of working with many clients who are considering remarriage or a new relationship after divorce. Seeing clients recover from a divorce and move forward positively is one of the nicest aspects of the work we do.

What we do see is that while excited to start a new chapter in their lives, many people entering a second marriage also want to put safeguards in place to make it easier if anything was to go wrong, and to implement what they learnt from their experience of divorce.

If you’re marrying again, your concerns might be:

      • How to protect the assets you retained from your first marriage
      • Avoiding any more arguments over finances if your relationship were to fail
      • Blending different families and commitments, where children are involved
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Planning for the Future

Prenups and Postnups

While it can be considered unromantic to enter into a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement, it's important to consider how marriage will change your legal status and what you can do to plan for the future.

It’s natural not to think about planning for the breakdown of your marriage when you are planning a wedding and about to embark on a new adventure with your partner, but having a plan in place can give you peace of mind, especially where children are involved.

If you’ve left an earlier relationship with a divorce settlement designed to give you and your children financial security, it’s important that you know it will not be lost in the future. A pre or postnuptial agreement can help to do that.

Of course, an agreement might not be right or necessary for everyone, but it's worth looking at whether it could be right for you.

Updating your Will

Inheritance is another issue to consider when looking at remarriage. Marriage changes who can, and will, inherit as a matter of law. If you want to make sure your existing family are protected, be it children or other family members, it can be important to have a valid Will made that means your Estate won’t just be divided by the Rules of Intestacy because of your new marriage.

Blending your Families

Gwen has three sons from her first marriage but Blake doesn’t have any of his own children. Gwen and Blake have formed a new family unit and Blake has taken on the role of step-father. It’s reported that Blake said during a radio appearance, “There’s definitely nothing easy about it. I don’t know if it’s as hard, or harder or not as hard as being an actual biological parent.”

Becoming a step-parent can be a difficult transition, whether or not you have children of your own. And this can create some challenging dynamics and bring up issues that need to be worked through as everyone gets used to the new situation.

Our Family Law team often work with parents and step-parents to help with issues such as:

        • Difficulties managing child arrangements with ex-partners
        • Co-parenting
        • Dealing with who has parental responsibility
        • And sometimes step-parent adoption

Some couples who are marrying later in life or following earlier marriages also want to look at ways to build their family together, whether through having children of their own, adoption or surrogacy.

Blending family units can be the foundation for many years of joy and fulfilment, but there is never any harm in researching and preparing for any possible bumps in the road. As well as legal advice, there are lots of useful resources online, especially for step-families.

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