The Remarriage Trap - What Is It & How To Avoid It?
Remarriage often arrives with a blend of hope and trepidation, as individuals seek companionship and happiness in a new partnership after a previous marriage has ended.
Often touted as a second chance at love, remarriage introduces an array of practical pitfalls that affect not just the couple, but their children, extended family members, and even their financial security.
In this article, you’ll learn about the ‘remarriage trap’ and what you need to know to help you avoid falling foul of it.
What Does The Remarriage Trap Mean?
The term “remarriage trap” refers to a legal predicament where an individual who has divorced and then remarries without having finalised their financial settlement with their ex-spouse loses the right to make any financial claims against them.
If you have failed to finalise your financial ties with your ex-wife or husband through a Financial Court Order and remarry, you lose the right to future claims.
This can mean being unable to claim a share of the family home, investments, or pensions, and not being able to apply to the court for periodical payments or a lump sum order.
Essentially, by remarrying before settling these matters, the individual is barred from making future financial claims, which can have significant financial consequences.
It is crucial for those considering remarriage to be aware of these concerns and to approach the decision with a sense of practicality and self-awareness. Seeking legal advice is recommended before remarriage to understand the potential future implications.
Preparing for remarriage involves understanding the legalities, including prenuptial agreements and estate planning.
Understanding the Remarriage Trap
The remarriage trap involves a complex interplay of personal and social dynamics that can lead to hasty or ill-considered decisions to remarry.
Individuals may fall into this trap due to psychological pressures or societal expectations, which often influence decision-making processes regarding entering a second marriage.
Something that isn’t often considered by couples looking to remarry is how second marriages affect divorce settlements in the UK.
Individuals often experience a range of emotions following a divorce, such as loneliness, seeking companionship, or a desire for stability.
These emotions can drive them towards a new partnership potentially before they are emotionally ready. The urgency to fill the void left by the end of a marriage can sometimes cloud judgement, leading to precipitous commitments.
The pressure exerted by societal norms and expectations also plays a significant role. In many societies, being married is regarded as the norm, which can lead individuals to seek a new marriage to align with these values.
How To Avoid The Remarriage Trap
When a divorcee re-marries without first obtaining a Financial Order with court approval from the previous marriage, they fall into the remarriage trap.
The only way to avoid falling foul of the remarriage trap is to file an application for a Financial Order with the court. Financial orders can be complex topics, which is why it’s important to speak with experts before getting started.
If you can agree to end all financial ties with your ex-partner and reach a divorce settlement, you can submit a claim to the court. The court fee in this scenario is £53.
On the other hand, if your ex-husband or wife doesn’t want to cooperate, you will need to apply to the court directly, which initially costs £255. However, in this scenario, you will likely need the assistance of a family law solicitor.
In some cases, divorcees can apply for a clean break divorce, which means both parties are financially independent and don’t require ongoing maintenance of financial support.
If you don’t deal with the finances from your previous marriage and fall into the remarriage trap, you will not be able to apply for the following from your former spouse:
- Lump sum orders / Periodical payment orders
- Property adjustment orders
- Pension attachment orders
These steps are vital to protect both parties and can prevent future legal disputes should the marriage not endure.
What Are The Legal Implications of Remarriage?
In considering remarriage, individuals must understand how it alters legal standing and responsibilities, particularly concerning assets and legal duties.
Upon remarriage, assets brought into the marriage may become marital property, subject to division if the relationship dissolves.
The law on matrimonial vs non-matrimonial assets is often different and whether assets acquired before marriage are considered in a future divorce will depend on your circumstances at the time.
To safeguard assets, parties often execute a prenuptial agreement, which delineates the ownership of individual assets and financial responsibilities.
Inheritance for children from previous marriages can also be affected; thus, a will or trust revision is advisable to establish clear bequests.
Remarriage requires careful legal consideration to protect assets and understand new responsibilities.
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If you are getting re-married and need advice on ensuring you protect your financial future and don’t lose out on financial rights, get in touch with us.