Before You Leap: What to Keep in Mind Before You Plan Your Big Day
Before you rush off to Las Vegas for a Valentine’s Day wedding, you really should lay a few things out on the table before saying, “I do.” Aside from the commitment that marriage entails, there are some legal issues that you and your future spouse will need to consider first, including:
The more details you can iron out before your wedding, the fewer surprises you will have in the future. Once you knock out the legal steps, your upcoming day of entree-sampling and cake-tasting will be that much sweeter.
- Application for a Marriage License: Some states take longer than others to issue a marriage license. Also of importance, if you are between the ages of 18 to 21 you may not be legally allowed to marry in certain states. If you are too close of kin, or are already married, forget about booking the Elvis impersonator as your officiant, because these marriages are illegal.
- Consider a Prenuptial Agreement: It may feel awkward to discuss getting a prenup, but doing so could save you expensive litigation in the future. A prenup can protect the properties of both parties and can also prevent one spouse from incurring the debts of the other.
- Talk About Assets and Debts: Unless you have a prenup, states that have community property laws will split marital property 50/50, including debts. It’s a good idea to be on the same page as your future spouse when it comes to spending habits, budgeting, and investment plans because financial problems lead many couples down divorce road.
- Destination Weddings: If you are planning on getting hitched abroad, be sure to remind your guests well in advance about having a passport and possibly a visa. Know the laws of the country where you are getting married; some countries require blood and medical tests, or you may even have to be a resident of the country. The country’s embassy or consulate is a good place to start your research.
- Make Sure the Ceremony is Legal: Most states will require you to be joined in matrimony by a specific person, such as a judge, clergy member, or minister. It is also not uncommon for states to allow someone to officiate a ceremony who has been ordained online.