Getting married is most likely to be one of the most memorable days of your life. It is one of the biggest milestones- so everything must be perfect, from the dress to the venue to the wedding breakfast. However, what about the legal aspects?
Feeling in love and caught up in all the romance, the legal sides of marriage are easily forgotten. However, there are some important aspects you should take note of, so here are ten things that you need to bear in mind when you marry.
1. How will it affect your children?
If you already have children from a previous relationship, you need to decide on whether you are going to change their legal guardianship once you have gotten married. This is something that will have a major impact on them, so you need to make sure you talk to them about it and also discuss the situation with anybody that it might affect, such as the child’s other biological parent.
2. Wedding venue contract
Sorting out the venue for your wedding is crucial, but you have to make sure that you have everything in place so you get no nasty surprises before the big day. To avoid this, make sure to have a legally binding contract with your supplier so that you know exactly what you are paying for.
Money can always be a bit of a tricky subject, but it’s an important one. A lot of couples choose to have a joint bank account due to convenience; however, this can lead to some discord later down the line. Since both parties legally have equal rights to the contents, this could have consequences if the marriage falls apart and both want access to the contents.
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 crucial when thinking about marriage and so is something you need to consider before your wedding.
4. Prenuptial agreements
Although it might not be the most romantic of subjects, a prenuptial agreement is something that should be taken into serious consideration when planning a wedding. This is especially the case when there is a very noticeable gap in how wealthy the bride and groom are in comparison to one another.
Some people prefer to share their finances once married, but keeping it separate and having a prenuptial agreement in place could work out for better should a divorce ever happen. You should bear in mind that they aren’t legally binding in England, but are in Scotland.
Once married, couples are able to transfer assets between one another without having to worry about capital gains tax, which many make the most out of. However, you need to consider the fact that this can affect certain aspects of divorce settlements.
The UK government offers the Marriage Allowance that you can claim if your partner’s income is between £10,601 and £41,385, but you earn below the former. This reduces tax by up to £212.
6. 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 banks) on what they require for the name to become official.
It is becoming more common 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.
7. Giving notice or having your banns read
This aspect will all come down to the type of wedding venue you plan to have. If it is going to be a civil ceremony, then you have to give the registrar fifteen days’ notice and remember that both parties have to go to the registrar’s office in person to do so. If it’s wedding in the Church of England you are planning, then this isn’t a requirement, but you do have to make sure that banns of marriage (a public announcement) be read on three Sundays during the three-month period before your wedding.
8. Getting married abroad
If you would prefer a romantic wedding in the sun, then you may decide to go abroad for the ceremony. 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 doing anything.
It might sound like you’re getting ahead of yourself with this one, but there are in fact a few benefits to think about your pension in relation to your wedding. Once married, you get new rights with your state pension and can change the nominated beneficiary to your partner on your private pension. You need to think about the fact that changes are always being made to the law so it’s best to keep on top of this.
10. What it means to your 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 don’t actually have a will, but it is good to get a will to plan for any eventuality, so it often makes sense for newlyweds to have something legally binding in place to cover your spouse for the future.