23 January 2015
Divorces and remarriages
4 Times married and divorced actress Patsy Kensit’s discussions about marriage with a fellow Big Brother contestant this week demonstrates a thought process which we often see our divorce clients going through.
Namely that when a marriage fails, questioning whether it was the coupling that was wrong, or the institution of marriage itself that isn’t quite right for that person, and whether you can believe that if a once-perfect relationship failed, it is ever worth walking down the aisle again.
We have seen a lot of divorce clients who have said “never again” – a failed marriage having shattered their illusions of the institution of marriage and the idea of a life-long commitment. But we have seen others who have said that given the chance, they would not hesitate to tie the knot again if the right person came along. In fact, it is not altogether unusual for a client to want to get the divorce process completed as soon as possible, so they can remarry straight away.
Ms Kensit suggests that she continued to believe in marriage up until the 4th divorce, but feels a 5th “I do” is off the table because so many failed experiences have now ruined what she saw as the particular sanctity of marriage, over and above a long term commitment, and promising a life-long union would no longer have the same meaning to her.
Whatever their feelings at the time of the divorce, many people getting a divorce do go on to remarry, for example according to ONS figures, second marriages accounted for 33% of all weddings in 2012. There is a lot of debate as to whether subsequent marriages are more likely to last than the first, with statistics to back up both arguments, but what is not in doubt is that plenty of people go on to make the commitment of marriage again after a divorce.
As divorce lawyers what we see a lot of amongst people deciding to take the plunge a second time is putting more preparation into the marriage. For example having hard discussions about key issues in advance and putting pre-nuptial agreements in place, to make sure that even if the worst were to happen, the ending itself may not be as difficult as the first time around.
In a similar vein, there can be good reasons, albeit not romantic ones, which make a remarriage a good idea. For example, inheritance and tax planning as there can be significant differences between married and unmarried couples.
Anyone considering whether re-marriage is for them can always discuss the respective pros and cons of a marriage versus living together, with professionals such as family lawyers or inheritance and tax planning lawyers to work out which option is best for them.
If in doubt, remember the Socrates quote “By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you'll become happy; if you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher”.
To discuss any family law or divorce situation contact us here and we’ll be happy to help you.
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