When planning a wedding, it is really easy to get overwhelmed with things such as the venue, music, guests, formal attire, and so on. It is completely natural. After all, it is one of the most important days in your life, and obviously, you want to be certain that everything will run smoothly.
Nevertheless, you shouldn’t forget all the legal aspects of getting married. We understand that now these may seem insignificant, so you may think that there will be enough time to deal with them later. Still, there are numerous legal things you have to do before getting married, and we will discuss some of them.
1. Marriage ceremony
The very first thing you have to do before planning anything is to check your state’s marriage ceremony requirements. Not a lot of people are familiar with these terms, so you have to investigate them beforehand. As you can assume, these vary between states, but some of the general ones include whether witnesses are required to attend and who can perform the ceremony. For example, in some states, only clergy members, ministers, and judges can officiate the wedding, while, on the other hand, some states enable people ordained online to do this.
2. Get a marriage license
Regardless of your state, you must have a marriage license. Otherwise, your marriage won’t be legal. When applying for this document, both you and your future spouse need to be present and have a valid ID that proves you are of age. In some states, you must be at least 18 years old, while in others, you may get married at 16 with parental permission.
You will have to fill out numerous forms and pay the fee. Make sure to ask how long you will have to wait for the license to be granted because this process can take a few days or even a month depending on multiple factors, so make sure to do this beforehand. However, at the same time, keep in mind that it is valid for a certain period of time, so you make sure to plan accordingly and get married before it expires.
3. Sign a prenuptial agreement
Generally speaking, not all couples consider getting a pre-marital agreement, but it is definitely something you have to think about. It is a document that will protect both of you in case of a divorce. It will protect your finances and property, and many people would agree that it can be quite important when building a successful marriage.
In addition, it will also enable you to come up with a plan and agree on custody of kids in case you separate in the future. We know that newlyweds don’t want to think about this and no one gets married expecting it to fail, but still, you have to be prepared. According to the Bombardieri family law firm, it is of crucial importance to understand how this works. You should also hire an attorney that will help you create an agreement that is fair to both of you and make sure that it is valid.
4. Do you want to change your name?
This is an important question you have to ask yourself. Naturally, neither spouse is legally required to change their name, but still, many women want to do this and take their future husband’s name. This is a fairly simple process, but still, you should think about it and start planning in advance to make sure you won’t face any challenges in the future.
On the other hand, both of you can choose a completely different name, but keep in mind that this process is a bit more complex. Depending on the law of your state, you may need a court order, and you will also have to file a petition. Not many people choose to do this, but still, it is a legal option you can go with.
5. Debts and assets
We have already mentioned a prenuptial agreement, but still, you have to thoroughly discuss all your finances with your future spouse before the wedding. Once you get married, most of your assets will become community property, meaning that they will be combined with those of your partner. If you intend to keep some of them outside this community, you have to come up with a plan with your spouse. This is another instance where you will benefit from attorney services.
Furthermore, don’t forget to talk about the current debts either of you has. These can include everything from credit card one to co-signing someone else’s debt. These are all crucial things you have to know, and most importantly, you have to come up with an agreement on how you will manage your finances. Will you file for taxes together? Will you have a joint bank account? Will you purchase property in the future? These are all questions you have to answer as soon as possible.
6. Will and life insurance
Inquiring whether your future spouse already has a will is a step you shouldn’t skip. As you know, they can give their assets and property that are not part of your marital property, that is, everything they have acquired before marrying you. This is something you have to know to avoid any surprises in case of their untimely demise. In addition, if they already have a will, you should talk with them and inquire whether they plan on changing it to include you and your kids.
Finally, there is the question of life insurance. Many people opt for having it, especially if they work in a dangerous line of business. Firstly, you have to learn what kind of insurance it is, and going back to joint finances, you should also ask what the monthly or annual rate is. Next, inquire about who the current primary beneficiary is and whether they will include you down the line. Gather as much information as you can because even though this isn’t something you want to think about, you still have to learn everything there is to know about it.