When you realise you want to spend the rest of your life with your other half, marriage may seem like the next logical step. But is getting married the right choice for everyone? Should you wait a little longer? We take a closer look…
Consider cohabitation before tying the knot
More and more people are living together before saying ‘I do’. Sharing a living space with someone before getting married, can help you to ensure that this is someone you will be able to live with for the rest of your life. Of course, we all have to make compromises when we live with others, but there may be some ‘deal breakers’ you didn’t know existed until you moved in with your other half.
We’re not saying love isn’t enough, but marriage is (hopefully) a lifelong commitment and if you can’t live under the same roof without feeling like you’re going to tear your hair out at your partner’s habits, it will put an extra strain on your relationship.
Cohabitation also gives you the chance to confirm whether you are compatible
Ask any couple therapist what are the main causes of difficulties in relationships and they will almost certainly tell you money, household chores or the division of labour in the relationship, and what happens in or outside the bedroom. It’s not always about how much money you have, but sometimes how you manage your finances. If, for example, you believe strongly in saving for your future and your partner has a ‘we could be dead tomorrow’ spending approach, you could find yourself locking horns in the future.
Living together is a chance to understand how you both view various aspects of your life and can help open up conversations about lifestyle, spending and saving. Talking about finances may not seem romantic but having open and honest conversations about spending and agreeing how you see your future from a financial perspective (do you want to save for a home or go travelling around the world, for example), can help to iron out any issues before they become bigger problems further down the line.
Build your independence before you get married
Getting married at a time that is right for both parties is important. For some couples that may be when you’re both financially independent and for others it may be when you have explored and feel comfortable together around some of the other issues identified above. .
Of course, the right time to get married is different for everyone and it’s a very personal decision. When the right time comes, you will both know.
Neil Scott Graham, a Partner at Grayfords comments as follows: “The dynamic of every relationship is unique, and people choose many ways to celebrate their relationship together. An increasing number of people choose to do so outside the formality of marriage or a civil partnership. The law currently does not recognise the concept of a “common law marriage” and the financial consequences upon the breakdown of a relationship can be very different depending upon whether the parties have entered into marriage or a civil partnership, have children together, own property together or have simply chosen to live together. It is possible to record in an agreement how you would both like to deal with your finances in the unlikely event of your relationship coming to an end. Specialist advice, however, should be sought in order to understand both the differences of each of the above and what can be done to mitigate the financial consequences of the breakdown of the relationship should you both choose to do so”
At Grayfords, we are here to advise you if you are considering taking the next step in your relationship – whether that’s living together, getting married or entering into a civil partnership. Get in touch with one of our experienced family lawyers for your free consultation to discuss cohabitation and prenuptial agreements.