State Laws On Marriage
Getting married is a big step in life and a very personal decision, but often people may not be aware of what it means from a legal standpoint. After all, when you get married you're taking on the responsibility to care for your spouse and any children you may have together, an obligation that is also held by your spouse. The act of marriage can also transform the way that you and your spouse hold property and how your property will be disposed of when either of you pass away or if there is a divorce.
Many of these responsibilities and determinations are determined by the laws of the state where you live (which can be different from the state in which you married). In fact, depending on your family situation, a state's marriage laws could determine where you want to live. One of the biggest distinctions among states is whether they have enacted community property laws or whether they are separate property states as this will have a direct impact on your marital assets.
Many states also allow spouses to enter into private agreements with respect to their legal obligations. These can include prenuptial agreements or even agreements during a marriage. States may impose additional requirements for these types of agreements beyond normal contracting requirements, such as the need for review periods before they are signed. However, if valid, these agreements can override any default state laws to the contrary.
Before you get married, it's helpful to understand the laws that will apply to your marriage. After all, this could help you to avoid certain surprises or major disputes down the line and can ensure that you are going into marriage fully informed. To make things easier, below you will find links to laws on marriage in all 50 states and DC.
Have A Marriage Law Issue? Find an Attorney Near You
The laws on marriage and on property owned during marriage vary from state to state. This can make things a little complicated during a divorce or on the death of a spouse, especially if you've lived in different states. You can learn more about the laws that apply to your marriage, and prevent problems from arising, by speaking with a local family law attorney.