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5 Legal Things You Need to Deal with Before Getting Married

— September 22, 2021

If there’s debt, property, or any other legal issue to make a note of, you should be open about it all. There’s no sense in entering a marriage unless it’s all out in the open. 

Getting hitched is a wonderful thing. You’ve found someone you love and someone you want to honor and treasure. This is one of the best things about life, so you want to make very sure that you’re doing everything you can to make it a success. 

There are many ways to brush up on the legal side of things, such as looking into your local records office. Depending on where you are, looking up the Orange County marriage records (for example) may be of some help here. 

Existing Children

A really major concern centers around children from previous marriages. There is a lot to think about with kids in the picture, and it’s a good idea to get your thoughts clear. If the children are very small, the notion of adoption might make sense. 

Even in cases of sole custody, things can get complicated. When your spouse has shared custody over the children, many legal rights must be well understood before you enter into a legal marriage. 

This area is a minefield. With visitation rights comes specific barriers on where you can live, when you can travel, and a host of other issues. You ought to consult with legal professionals who know this aspect of the law to know where you stand. 

Property and Money Concerns

When the parties entering into marriage have holdings in property or finance, it is best to arrive at a plan before the nuptials. Laws vary from state to state, so you should be very aware of the local legislation on this. 

It may be the case that you choose some form of prenuptial arrangement to safeguard your holdings, or you may choose to marry in a community of property. Each couple ought to make it clear before proceeding exactly what they intend. 

This is perhaps the most acrimonious area of the law surrounding marriage. So, it’s sensible to have serious discussions about your planning in this regard. Having everything out in the open is the only way to go forward with your union. 

Tax Issues

Image by Karolina Grabowska, via
Image by Karolina Grabowska, via

Again, there are a great many variations on this theme. For many, getting married will change both your relationship and tax status at the same time. They depend on your income, your residence, and many other things. 

One of the most significant areas of concern is the so-called “marriage penalty,” which some couples experience. It pays to know where you stand so that you can make your arrangements as well as possible beforehand. 

Name Changing

It may seem to some people that changing names after marriage is a little old-fashioned, and yet the majority of folks opt to do so. When you choose to do the name change, there are some legal ramifications and costs to bear in mind. 

It will involve having official copies of your marriage license sent to all kinds of places. Your driver’s license, passport, social security, voter roll, and many others will have to be altered to reflect your new name, so it’s not simple. 

There is a grace period of a few months in which to make all these changes official, so don’t be tempted to leave it to the last minute. Some small costs are likely to accrue from the various agencies and admin departments involved. 

Marriage Abroad

Destination weddings are quite fashionable now, but they are not without their drawbacks. Similar problems can also arise when marrying a non-citizen. This area is vast, and the legalities are too, so it’s best to get some advice. 

For example, even if two US citizens are married in a foreign country, that marriage may not be legally binding back home. There are a number of factors that go into a legally binding marriage, and these must all be met. 

If you’re in any doubt about this issue, it may be necessary to consult a professional to make sure. 

Some Final Thoughts

Marriage is one of the most essential foundations of civil society, and so it’s unsurprising that it can be so legally complex at times. Whether you’re a young couple just starting out, or an older couple with experience, it still makes sense to do some research. 

Making clear to each other what your legal positions are is also important. If there’s debt, property, or any other legal issue to make a note of, you should be open about it all. There’s no sense in entering a marriage unless it’s all out in the open. 

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