Frequently Asked questions About Marriage

This article introduces the Frequently Asked questions About Marriage

Q: What is the legal definition of marriage?

A: A marriage is usually defined as a contract between two people (a man and a woman) demonstrating their intent to be husband and wife before the law.

Q: My fiancee and I, we will get married in a couple of months. What we need to be legally married?

R: The requirements of marriage vary from state to state, but usually involve a marriage license, a waiting period, blood tests, compliance with the minimum age, a ceremony officiated by the clergy personnel or by an officer of the court, and witnesses.

Q: Who can preside over the wedding ceremony?

A: In most states, a marriage can be presided over by the following people:

  • A judge, a magistrate, a justice of the peace, or an officer of the county;
  • A mayor (or a delegate of the mayor); or
  • A person of the clergy (minister, rabbi, etc).

Q: I will marry soon and I want to make sure that my savings account will remain as a separate. How do I achieve that?

A: You must keep all your goods separated out of the joint ownership of property during the marriage, if it is that you want to remain the owner of such property in case of death or divorce. Generally, this means that you should not “mix” the property that you had before the marriage that you purchased along with your spouse during the marriage. Otherwise it could be very difficult – if not impossible – to determine legally what is what.

Q: My future husband and I want to create a prenuptial agreement. Where do we start?

R: Before you make a prenuptial agreement, both parties should show their assets completely, your income, your debts, and must make the agreement “in good faith”; this means that none of both spouses try to misrepresent the facts or take advantage of the other. To make sure that the prenuptial agreement will be enforced, it is recommended that future spouses represent two lawyers separately, same as the advice on their rights and responsibilities. In fact, some states require that each party be represented by an attorney other than for the prenuptial agreement to be valid.

Q: What is a “common-law relationship”?

A: Before the law, a common-law relationship is a marriage in which the marriage has not taken place officially. In the common-law relationship a couple is considered legally married, despite not having a marriage license, a ceremony, or a marriage certificate; if you meet specific requirements listed in the legislation where you live. Usually, a couple should have stayed together and conduct themselves as husband and wife before you can be considered the same as a common-law relationship.

Q: My wife and I have been married for almost 20 years, but I’ve had my business for over 25 years. I know that the income of my business are “community property”, but what is my business by himself to a well-separated?

R: Not necessarily. Do not assume that if you were the owner of a business before marriage, it remained as a well-separated after marrying.If your business increased in value during the marriage due in part to the contributions of his wife, she could be entitled to share in its value if there is a divorce or if you die. Such contributions can be very obvious (for example, your wife took the accounts of the business), but may also be less detectable (for example, your wife took care of the household and the children while you are focused on taking forward the business).

Q: how Should my wife and I submit a joint income tax return?

R: Ordinarily, fill out a joint return will give them greater advantages in terms of tax. In some cases, their tax combined in a separate return may be less than would in a joint statement. Determine your taxes both statements, both joint and separate, under the laws of joint ownership of property in your state. Then, you will be able to compare their tax accounting under both methods and use the one that is less taxable. Keep in mind that if you send statements separately, you and your spouse must report one-half of their income and deductions are pooled in addition to your income and deductions separately. (Source: Revenue Service Internal).