Marriage is often described as two individuals who have promised to love each other until the end of time. But, on the other side of that public display of love, is a law that lingers behind it. There are strict laws throughout the United States that establish the validity of a marriage. Marriage law affects everything from the age of consent to how quickly you can annul a marriage. Below, we’re going to dive deeper into marriage law in order to understand what happens legally before and after you say “I do.”
The definition of marriage law differs from one state to another. Each state has a stance on which marriages are legitimate and which aren’t. For example, the average marriage age in US is 18 years old, without parents’ approval. But, in New Hampshire, you can get married as young as 13 as long as you have parents’ approval. Marriage in USA for foreigners can also be quite complicated. Some countries don’t recognize U.S. marriage documents as valid, or require other certification in order to establish the validity of the union in the home country.
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What is a Common Law Marriage?
A common law marriage is when a couple lives together for a certain time period (usually seven years) and the government recognizes the couple as married without them having to go through the legal process of obtaining a marriage license, and so on. Most states don’t allow this type of marriage, but some have various requirements in order to allow it like Utah.
Getting a Marriage License
If you’re wondering how to get a marriage license, the first step is at your local county clerk’s office. In order to fill out the license, you will have to show proof of your identity. Some states require a witness. Additionally, depending on which state, there’s going to be a waiting period between filling out the license and actually being married. Research getting a marriage license in your home state before planning your wedding to ensure the validity of your union when your wedding day rolls around.
Understanding Divorce Laws
Sometimes, marital bliss doesn’t last forever. Divorce laws, like marriage laws, differ in each state. Each divorce is unique, but they usually discuss the same factors including child custody, division of property, and alimony. Divorces could take anywhere from a couple of months to a couple of years, depending on the factors that the two parties can agree on. Before choosing to break it off, research the divorce laws in your area to figure out how to do it as quickly and as stress-free as possible.
In order to build a solid marriage, or swiftly break it off, it’s important to be aware of the marriage laws in your area. Do your own research about state marriage laws to make sure that you