Getting engaged? Remember your legal options

Getting engaged can be one of the happiest times of your life. Whether you have got down on one knee to pop the question or were on the end of a romantic proposal, it's sure that you will be in a dream-like state in which you wouldn't even dare to think that something could go wrong.

But the sad reality is that many engagements and marriages do take a turn for the worse at some point and the UK's divorce rate has increased over the years. With this in mind, you might be well advised to consider all the legal options open to you prior to tying the knot and potentially signing away some of your rights and assets.

So what can you do from a legal standpoint to strengthen your position prior to saying 'I do' to the one you love?

1. Make a cohabitation agreement

One option is to enter into a cohabitation agreement. This means that all your finances and future plans are out in the open with your partner, but should you split there shouldn't be as much of a mess to deal with. 

As such, it's no surprise to find that cohab agreements are popular with many Britons.


2. Write a will

Another legal option that is available to everybody is to make a will, which will protect your interests should you pass away.

Remember that marriage can make your existing Will invalid, so getting a new Will drawn up to outline your current circumstances is vital.

It's worth remembering that your assets will automatically be passed to different relations depending on whether you're married or not, so if your wishes differ from the legal guideline it's essential that you invest in this process.


3. Know your rights

Children are, of course, a huge issue in any long-term relationship. As a parent, you will have equal rights if you're married, but the situation can be more complicated if you're not. Again, you must think long and hard about your personal circumstances and what you want in the future.


4. Take your time

Marriage is for life, so you shouldn't rush any of these decisions. Spend plenty of time considering your options and talk through the matter with those who are closest to you. Taking on board advice from a solicitor is another wise move, prior to making a decision that could have huge consequences in the years ahead.

5. Make a prenup

You will also have heard of prenuptial agreements, which are typically popular among the rich and famous. This is a way of protecting your assets and ensuring that they will not be taken by your partner should you split. 

But they are not only useful if you're wealthy, as they can also help you overcome obstacles should it be a second marriage, or there is a large age gap between you and your spouse.

Getting married is a time when a lot of your legal positions change, so ensuring everything is how you want it to be is essential.


Published on: October 3, 2012

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