You’ve all heard the tale as old as time, kissing in trees leads to marriage which leads to babies, which all leads to a happy life. However, marriage is a bit more complicated than that. In fact, there are a lot of legal aspects that need to be considered when getting married. Here at Kirbo Law Firm of Moultrie, Georgia, we understand those complications and would like to help you. Here’s our guide to what you need to know about the marriage aspect of Family Law.
The Basics: Requirements
- Each state has its own set of specific laws, but many of them overlap. Here is a list of some of the most common requirements:
- There must be consent given by both parties with full knowledge of what is happening
- You cannot marry immediate blood relatives, although you can marry second cousins in every state.
- In most states you must be 18 years old to consent to marriage. However, some states allow younger with parental consent
- Both parties must be mentally healthy enough to understand marriage and what is required of it.
- Proof of ID is required
- You do not need to be a resident of most states to get married there
- Both spouses, the person who officiated, and one or two witnesses over the age 18 must sign the marriage certificate
License: Common Requirements
- A Fee ranging from $10 to $115 dollars.
- A blood test is rarely required to check partners for diseases. It’s mostly obsolete now but some states like Montana still require it.
- Some states enforce a waiting period before receiving a requested marriage license. These are usually under a week and are just to ensure it’s what the couple really wants.
- Some states also require a waiting period after receiving the license. The longest waiting period is 3 days.
- You must use your marriage in a certain amount of time depending on your state. It can go as quickly as 10 days to 1 year. Some states do not have an expiration for you license. Check out usmarriagelaws.com list to see each state’s specific laws.
Knowing What’s Yours
- There are two types of property laws that differ depending on what state you live in. Most states are Common Law Property States. Common Law essentially means that if one person in a marriage solely buys somethings in their name, it’s theres. If an asset is bought under both parties names, then the assets are in joint tenancy with the right of survivorship. So whichever partner survives inherits the entirety of the property.
- The other type of state is the Community Property State. Only several states follow these rules, but it essentially states that any assets acquired over the course of the marriage are owned by both parties. The only exceptions are items acquired before the marriage or gifts given to one person during the marriage
Want a Prenuptial Agreement?
Prenuptial Agreements (prenups) often have a bad connotation to them, as if the parties involved don’t trust one another. That’s not always the case though, as prenups are a safety precaution in a world where not everything always goes your way. There are many benefits to them, such as:
- Protecting each parties assets
- Set the financial responsibilities during a marriage
- Protection from the debt of the other party
- Ensuring someone besides your spouse else will inherit certain assets or income in the event of your death
- How assets will be divided in the case of someone’s death
- Set the financial responsibilities during a marriage
- Figuring out how everything is split in the event of a divorce making a divorce a lot quicker and painless.
How do you get a Prenupial Agreement?
Prenuptial agreements can be created on your own, but it’s advised (and in some states required) to get a family law attorney for each party to look over and review the prenup. It must be a written agreement and It also must be presented to a court. A judge reviews and decides if the prenup is fair and meets state requirements. Obviously, the prenup must also be signed before some time before the marriage takes place.
What can not be included in a Prenup?
- Illegal activities
- Giving up alimony rights
- Anything involving child care
- Financial incentives encouraging divorce
- Personal matters
Something to Note: Prenups can cost upwards $2,500 but in the event of a divorce, would be a lot more cost effective and better than letting a judge divide up your assets. Contact one of our Moultrie Family Lawyers today if you want to learn more about getting a prenup.
Changing Your Name
When you get married, there’s the option of changing your last name to the last name of your spouse. However it doesn’t just come with marriage. There are several steps you must take first. Usually you need to petition the court to change your name, an order describing the cause for the name change, and a decree to legally change your name. It also requires a fee upwards of $200. Don’t forget to notify important organization’s of your new name. Some places not to forget include
- Social Security Administration
- Banks + Credit Card Companies
- Mortgage and Loan Companies
- And remember to change your passport as well.
What’s a Common Law Marriage?
Common Law marriages are a way for two parties to have a valid marital status without going through a legal marriage ceremony. What is required of this can vary from state to state, but generally proof of a long lasting relationship, eyewitnesses to your relationship, deeds showing joint company, joint ownership of bank accounts, and more are ways to validate a common law marriage. This is mostly accepted only for a relationship between a man and woman, there are a few states who allow common law marriages for same sex couples. Each state has their own requirements and can be checked out here.
Have any other questions or would like to hire an attorney? Contact us here at Kirbo Law Firm, and we’re happy to set you up with one of our Moultrie family law attorneys.