Will it work?

Couples who marry in later life often have a much better sense of what they want from a relationship. If you’re marrying again after divorce, you may be keen to get things right this time. If you’ve been bereaved, it can be another chance to enjoy love and romance. But starting again can be difficult.

Don’t expect your old ‘rules’ to apply in a new relationship. Your new partner has a set too! You will both bring all your history of previous relationships into your new one – tell each other what your hopes and fears are.

Barbara Honey, Senior Practice Consultant, Relate

Managing your money

When you marry or enter into a civil partnership your financial position will change. It’s up to you how you manage your money but you’ll need to think about whether you’ll organise your finances jointly or separately. You may have very different approaches to money so it’s important to be clear from the start about how you want to pay for things and make decisions. Try to avoid a situation where only one of you understands your finances.

You could consider having a prenuptial agreement (a prenup), which is a legal document setting out what you’ve agreed. You can also have a postnuptial agreement (postnup) after you’ve married or become civil partners. These agreements aren’t legally binding but will be considered by the courts if you later get divorced or dissolve your civil partnership.

If you’re living together but not planning to marry or have a civil partnership, you have fewer rights so it’s a good idea to draw up a living together agreement.

If you need independent financial advice, contact the societyoflaterlifeadvisers.co.uk or Unbiased.

Your benefits

If you’re getting any means-tested benefits, including housing benefit, Council Tax support, and Pension Credit, your new partner’s income, savings, property and investments will now be taken into account. You’ll need to tell the relevant benefits offices, local council departments and the Pension Service that you’ve remarried or you’re living with a new partner, as soon as possible.

To check your entitlement to benefits, you could use our benefits calculator or call our Helpline.

Pensions

If you reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016, you may be able to use part of your former spouse or partner’s National Insurance record to count towards your State Pension.

The new State Pension is based on your own national insurance record and you can’t usually use your former partner or spouse’s National Insurance record. Contact the Future Pension Centre helpline for more advice.

Other pension schemes have different rules about your rights to a former partner or spouse’s pension if you remarry. You should check your position with the pension provider.  

If you belong to a pension scheme, you may want to change your nominated beneficiary. This is the person who receives any benefits from the scheme when you die.

Your will

As soon as you remarry or enter into a new civil partnership, any will that you’ve written is normally no longer valid. You’ll need to write a new will if you want to make sure that your beneficiaries get what you intend, for example your children from your first marriage. If you’re only making minor changes, you may just need to add an additional clause, called a codicil, to your previous will.

Maintenance

If you receive maintenance for yourself from your ex-spouse or civil partner, this will stop when you remarry. It can also stop if you live with another person as their partner.

Starting over

Setting up home with a new partner can be stressful because of the many changes involved, such as moving to a new home and getting used to a different way of doing things. You may have become set in your ways and some of the problems you faced in your previous relationships can influence how you relate now.

It can be hard to change habits but try to approach a new relationship as a fresh start. Talk to your new partner about your hopes and expectations. You could consider relationship counselling to help you prepare for your new marriage or civil partnership. You can find more advice about second marriages on the Relate website.

Other relationships

Although many people will be happy for you, it’s worth bearing in mind that there could be some tensions. Telling your children that you’re getting remarried or entering a new partnership can be a difficult conversation no matter how old they are. They may find it difficult to accept your new partner because they feel it’s disloyal to their other parent. There could also be some resentment if their inheritance is affected. And your new relationship may mean making changes to existing grandparenting arrangements.

Your friends may also feel disloyal to your former partner and your new partner may not like being around your old friends, especially if they feel that they’re being compared.

You can get advice on managing relationships from relate.org.uk.

Next steps

You can find legal specialists through the Law Society solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk

You might be able to get free initial legal advice through a Law Works legal advice clinic lawworks.org.uk or from the Disability Law Service dls.org.uk.

You could also contact Civil Legal Advice gov.uk/civil-legal-advice to find out whether your situation is covered by legal aid.

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