Shirley Valentine may be a fictional character from 1989, but the character she portrays could be one of several unfortunate wives duped by men who wooed them whilst on holiday. Romances have blossomed quickly and sometimes led to swift marriages. In some cases, only after getting wed has it become apparent that the men only wanted to marry to secure a UK visa and a better life for themselves, and soon leave their blushing brides in the lurch with divorce fees and potentially a divorce settlement to pay.
The Daily Mail Online reported a case in 2014 where a young woman fell in love with a Turkish man on holiday. They were in a relationship for a couple of years until the young woman learnt she was pregnant. Not long after, the man stopped contacting her and then she discovered through a friend that he was already married. Soon after this discovery, the woman miscarried; she suspected this was due to the stress she went through.
Another case in The Daily Mail Online talks about a retired woman who met her Tunisian holiday romance through online dating. They were engaged after just 19 days together and married in 2012. After spending 8 months apart while the woman secured her Tunisian husband a UK visa, he moved into her UK home. A fortnight later, the husband left and didn’t contact his wife until 6 months later when he asked her for money to help support his new life. Instead of giving him money, the woman began saving for a divorce, suspecting that the Tunisian man only married her to get a UK visa.
It doesn’t matter what the circumstances of your relationship are, you should enter marriage with caution and be sure it is what both you and your partner want for better, for worse.
To try to protect your assets, you may want to consider drawing up a pre-nuptial agreement so that should your marriage not be as long lasting as you first hoped, the financial consequences of divorce may not be as painful or as expensive as they would otherwise be.
A pre-nuptial agreement is entered into before marriage and it details how a couple’s current and future assets should be divided in the event of divorce. If you have children from a former relationship or marriage, a pre-nuptial agreement is often a good idea so that you can try to preserve your property for your children in the event of divorce from your new spouse.
Whilst prenuptial agreements are not currently legally enforceable in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, parties to a prenuptial agreement will be held to its terms provided certain pre-conditions are met, namely:
• Both parties have independent legal advice
• Both parties provide financial disclosure to the other
• The prenuptial agreement is entered into freely by both parties and there is no evidence of duress, fraud or misrepresentation, and
• The financial settlement the pre-nup provides for the financially weaker party is not unfair.
With any financial settlement on divorce, the court ultimately has the final say about what is fair for both parties depending on the circumstances of the case. Each case is different and financial positions change in a marriage over time.
Before you get carried away with sun, sand and marriage, consider a pre-nuptial agreement - it could save you a lot of heartache and expense in the event of a future divorce.
For further information, see our previous blog: How to suggest a pre-nuptial agreement to your partner.
Family lawyers at Slater and Gordon UK are experts in pre-nuptial agreements. We will be happy to arrange an initial consultation with you to discuss pre-nuptial agreements and your options in more detail before you walk down the aisle.
Call us on freephone 0800 916 9055 or from outside the UK please call +44 20 7657 1555 or contact us online.