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Legal steps to consider on second or later life marriage

Legal steps to consider on second or later life marriage . The longer lives we live now and greater likelihood of second long terms relationships has legal consequences that should be taken into account before a second marriage. What happens when major life events like divorce and death happen. Entering a second marriage happens at a time often when you have greater assets but also greater responsibilities. Giving thought to these issues before the wedding, perhaps at a time you least want to appear unromantic, could save a lot of stress and money (in terms of capital and legal costs) later on.

Michael Brennan, a family law specialist at Cheshire solicitors Stonehewer Moss, has developed a package of legal documents to address the most foreseeable legal disputes arising from a second marriage. In summary, they are:-

  1. A pre nup agreement. This will help if there is a later divorce. Although you cannot contract out of the jurisdiction of the court in divorce, a carefully drafted pre nup should in most cases persuade the court in divorce to follow the agreement.
  2. A will that will not be revoked by the wedding ceremony, the usual rule. The happy couple jets off on honeymoon without a will on the wedding day leaving the new spouse quids in should you die before making a new will as under the rules of intestacy at the cost, for example, of children from earlier relationships your new spouse probably takes all or most of your assets. Expressing the will carefully prior to the marriage can cover this situation.
  3. A mutual will agreement. This could be vital to prevent fraud by a second spouse inheriting your assets only because you thought he or she had agreed by will to benefit your children but once you die your spouse revokes the will he or she made with you and leaves to another person such as a new partner instead of your children.A mutual will agreement can help to prevent this second will contrary to the agreement being effective.

Michael says, “It is the role of your solicitor to worry for you about issues you could not imagine will happen when you are about to commit to someone until death. The three documents set out above are sensible and personally I would be very wary of anyone telling me I was being unromantic by seeking them if my circumstances in the cold light of day make it obvious that death or divorce could impact, for example, on children from an earlier marriage or assets created long before the marriage. I have been studying, after 23 years qualification, wills and succession in order to offer an up to date service for this work to complement family law. Solicitors market “elderly services” and I can imagine senior citizens dislike that label but it does strike me, at 46, that it is about time solicitors started addressing the need for middle aged services. We are a generation that has assets but also often  responsibilities to children from earlier relationships and frankly should face up to those responsibilities when entering the legal contract of marriage without getting too dreamy about romance. A solicitor can agree a fixed price for a package of the three documents mentioned in this blog at a fraction of the likely cost of a disputed divorce or inheritance case at Court. I get letters inviting me to pre pay my funeral for a small fortune, frankly the legal work mentioned in this blog has real value compared to them of lasting benefit to nearest and dearest.”

To arrange a no obligation discussion of our middle aged services, do it well before the wedding day by telephoning Michael on 01606 872200 or e mail visit

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