A lot of planning goes into pulling off a wedding. Between sending out the invitations, picking the venue and caterer and lining up the tuxedos and gowns, there are a lot of details to check off that planning list. What sometimes gets lost in all that planning is that a marriage is a legal contract between consenting adults. That status change for a couple can have a ripple effect throughout their lives. That is why it is important to get all the legal matters resolved before the vows are exchanged and the “happily ever after” can begin.
Every state requires a couple to obtain a marriage license in order for that marriage to be deemed legal. The place where marriage licenses are issued varies in each city. It might be a city hall or a municipal courthouse. It is important to check the “expiration” date. Marriage licenses are given in anticipation of a ceremony and they might become invalid if that ceremony isn’t carried out in a specific amount of time. There are also several documents that are required before obtaining the license. Additionally, both parties need to be present at the time of filing for that license. The person who is officiating your wedding ceremony will need to see a copy of the license before the ceremony. The license is also location specific. You might only be able to use a license in the jurisdiction it was issued. That is something to consider for destination weddings.
Prenuptial agreements lay the groundwork for divorce proceedings, and facilitate a more beneficial and amicable resolution for all involved. This is a vital legal contract that can protect the interests of both parties, especially if they are coming into the marriage with significant financial assets. It will set up the equitable distribution of those assets if there is a divorce. The controversy around prenuptial agreements is that it is admitting that there is a chance that the marriage is going to fail. No one sets out getting married thinking that the marriage won’t last. However, being prepared with a prenuptial agreement is like having an insurance policy. You hope you will never need it, but you are glad you have it just in case.
Getting married doesn’t just change your tax filing status. It also adds to the burden of responsibility for providing for your family. A life insurance policy can set up benefit payments to help your family maintain the standard of living that you’ve provided for them if you aren’t around to do that any longer. When the family grows with kids, that life insurance policy might also have to grow. The insurance can become your legacy and that makes it a very valuable legal matter to set up.
The sooner you can take care of the legal issues surrounding your pending marriage, the better. Taking care of those things will make your marriage go much smoother and make sure you are both taken care of. File those documents in a safe place and enjoy the wedding.