Getting Married – Checklist

Here are a few things you need to think about if you are planning on getting married. Marriage laws vary from state to state. Please check with your state’s requirements. Consult with an experienced family law attorney.

Are You Ready for Marriage?

How you manage to deal with issues such as finances, parenting, communication, expectations and conflict will be vital to the success of your marriage. You should discuss these issues with your to be spouse before you get married. The two of you should take the “are you ready for marriage” test.

Legal Requirements

The legal requirements vary from state to state. Generally the legal requirements include marriage license, residency requirements, blood test, marriage certificate, etc. You must ensure that you and your to be spouse meet the legal requirements for marriage under your state law.

Marriage Ceremonies

The marriage ceremony can only be conducted by someone authorized to do by the state. Members of the clergy are usually the ones who conduct the ceremony. State law also prescribes the number of witnesses required.

Prenuptial Agreements

You can decide how the two of you will handle your assets and financial obligations and rights by entering into a prenuptial agreement. In the absence of a prenuptial agreement, your state law will determine how your property will be handled during the marriage and in the event of a divorce. A prenuptial agreement must be valid under the state law, fair to the parties and must be signed voluntarily and without coercion

Name Change

The law does not require a woman to change her last name. A woman can keep her last name or use both last name or use her husband’s name or use a completely different name. The man is also free to take the woman’s last name. The change of name after marriage is legally valid unless it is done fraudulently or criminally.

Marriage, Money, and Property

Marriage, money and property are interrelated. Marriage will affect your assets, money and debts. You must understand what a marital property is and what separate property is. Marriage can also affect your tax liabilities and you may be liable for the debts of your spouse.

Additional Information

If the information in this section is not sufficient or you need additional information, click on the following links:

Foreign Spouse
Information from the US Department of State regarding getting married abroad
Stepparent Adoption
Same Sex Marriage

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