When many people think of marriage, they may think about the diamond ring, starting a family, the wedding dress, the party, and starting a life with the person that you love in hopes that you will be together forever. Although this is true, there is a lot more involved in marriage. A couple will become dependent on one another. It is a legal and financial partnership. A marriage is similar to business in a sense. Couples will have to manage their finances together, make joint decisions, make compromises, and communicate with each other on a regular basis to keep things in order.
When you get a marriage license, you now have a new legal relationship. Your money and property is now connected in a way that it wasn't before. It makes an impact on your legal rights in a variety of ways such as impacting your property ownership, debts, inheritance, divorce and alimony, and death benefits.
When you are single, everything that you own or acquire is yours. When you enter a marriage, this will change. The money or items you acquire will belong to the two of you jointly. This can differ depending on the state you live in though. It is always important to read up on your state's laws when it comes to marriage or divorce. When you get divorced, this could mean that you are splitting your assets. Refer to Palacios Law Group's previous blog post on divorce for more information in regards to this.
In some states you may be liable for your spouse's debt. It all depends whose name the debt is under. This is again discussed in further detail in our previous post about debt and divorce.
If you die without a will, half to a third of your estate will go to your spouse. This is why it is so important to estate plan. If you want your assets to be divided according to your wishes, we recommend you properly estate plan.
If you get a divorce, the spouse who makes the most money may be ordered to pay alimony. This provides support to the other spouse. If the marriage has been long-term, then this alimony may even be permanent.
If one spouse dies, you may be eligible for certain benefits such as Social Security or pension benefits.
The laws vary from state to state, but couples could make an impact on these arrangements through legal documents. Many people do not consider this when they get married. Many couples do not expect divorce or the potential for an accident to occur. This leaves the individuals in the marriage unprotected.
There are different key documents that married couples may want to consider. This includes a prenuptial agreement, a will, a living trust, a durable power of attorney, and a health care advance directive.
To find out more information in regards to these legal documents, refer to our previous blog posts or the source below.
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