We say marriage is an agreement between two people. Besides romance, marriage is a legal or cultural union where a couple is bound to live together in peace till death. But, if they decide to dissolve the marriage, there’s a legal process they must adhere to.
Is marriage a legal contract? The law provides for specific legal rights and responsibilities. After marriage, the couple is issued a marriage certificate. The certificate binds the two parties but can also dictate some legal duties between them.
If you find yourself in a situation where you need legal advice or assistance regarding marriage or family matters, it’s essential to consult with experienced family solicitors who can guide you through the process.
Legal Changes That Come With Marriage
Marriage is celebrated worldwide. The huge ceremony, expensive outfits, and a perfect venue create lifetime memories. But, there are legal implications you must consider.
Getting married binds couples in many ways before the law. After tying the knot and becoming one, finances, assets, and liabilities are also joint. The married couple is expected to invest and share financial responsibilities. Laws can vary from country to country or state to state. Hence, you need to check what the law dictates about assets and wealth before tying the knot. Here are some of the assets that you may have to share with your spouse:
- Bank accounts
- Inherited wealth
Before walking down the aisle, people should understand the issue of finances. Each partner in a marriage is accountable to the other. They report to each other about finances, meaning they must agree on spending. Potential disagreements in finances push people to write a prenuptial agreement.
Prenups ensure an understanding between parties in case the union goes south. These agreements safeguard an individual’s assets brought to the marriage. Without a prenup, the two parties would be required to split finances right in the middle if a marriage ends.
When getting into marriage, you must write a new will to state your wishes in case of a divorce. Suppose you go into marriage without a will; your wealth can end up in the wrong hands. Your partner is a beneficiary of everything in your name. An old will is invalidated the moment you enter the marriage union.
After marriage, you can file taxes as a couple. You can file under Married Filing Jointly or Separately, depending on your preference. Some couples opt to file separately to venture into what works for them. Filing together is provided under the law if you marry on the last day of the tax year. A marriage tax penalty for couples earning over $600,000 and $500,000 for singles can apply. This income level attracts a tax rate of 37%.
Some issues, like medical situations, give more rights to married people. Spouses have more rights to visit their spouses when admitted to the hospital. When a spouse can’t make sound decisions due to health issues, the other spouse has default rights to decide for them.
Children from a previous relationship can be adopted into the new marriage. Legal guardianship is changed after the wedding if the other partner is willing. Before changing children’s names who are under the legal age, there must be consent. Both biological parents can make this decision.
The marriage certificate bears your new title and proves you changed your name. Suppose you want to adopt your spouse’s last name. You can use the name and then update your documents later.
After marriage, you can file for a name change in courts, and a clerk will provide the necessary forms. Same-sex marriages are legal in some regions, but the law must be executed before changing your name. Visit your local court, and a clerk will give you the right information.
Once you’re married, you owe your spouse fidelity, help, and respect. Couples manage family resources and exercise parental authority together. Married people should agree on where to live and help each other around the house.
The Bottom Line
Marriage is a union between two partners who agree to live together forever. While in marriage, there are some changes that come into effect under the law. But, if the union doesn’t work, it can be resolved in court. Marriage is a legal contract, so you should seek legal guidance before tying the not or divorcing.