Legal Issues to Consider Before Getting Married
Most people have overriding romantic thoughts when the idea of marriage is first discussed. While this is normal, it is also important to keep in mind that there are several legal aspects to consider before getting married. Moreover, although it may not be very romantic, many couples find it helpful to discuss these legal issues before getting married.
The Process of Marriage
A wedding and a wedding reception are the fun parts of the marriage process—a process which brings together family and friends in a celebration of the new couple. However, there are more mundane items that must be taken care of before a marriage is legally recognized. For example, a couple must fill out an application for marriage. Under Illinois law, this application must contain the following information:
- Personal information, including, but not limited to, each person's name, Social Security number, and date and place of birth;
- Whether either person was previously married, as well as any information related to the divorce from, or the death of, the former spouse;
- The name and address of the parents of each person; and
- Whether the parties are related to each other and, if so, in what way.
After a couple completes the application, they must both appear before the county clerk and pay a license fee. The clerk will issue a license to marry and a marriage certificate form. Under most circumstances, the license to marry becomes effective one day after the date of issuance. This means that a couple cannot obtain a license and get married the same day. However, a license can be made effective on the same day of issuance by court order. It is also important to note that the license expires 60 days after the date of issuance.
The person solemnizing the marriage completes the marriage certificate form and gives it to the county clerk within ten days of the date the marriage was solemnized. Finally, the clerk will register the marriage, making it legally recognized.
The Benefits of Marriage
Entering into a marriage provides numerous benefits and protections for a couple. For example, a marriage allows a couple to:
- File a joint income tax return;
- Enjoy estate planning benefits, such as exemption from the gift and estate taxes for any property that is given or left to a spouse; and
- Obtain immigration and residency benefits for a spouse that is not a U.S. citizen.
Many of the above-listed benefits of marriage require the assistance of an attorney. Additionally, one area in which consulting with an attorney proves beneficial is in relation to the drafting of a prenuptial or premarital agreement. Though many individuals may not find these agreements very romantic, premarital agreements can be extremely important under the right circumstances. Factors that impact whether a premarital agreement may be appropriate include the wealth of each spouse, whether either or both individuals are remarrying, and whether either spouse owns a business.
Work With a DuPage County Family Law Attorney
While legal issues related to marriage are usually associated with the breakdown of a marriage, there are important issues to consider before marriage as well. For more information about issues related to marriage, please contact a skilled Wheaton family law attorney today. At MKFM Law, our attorneys are happy to discuss how we can help you. Call 630-665-7300 today.