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Legal Matters For Couples Preparing For Marriage

Marriage is never a simple matter. You have to protect your assets. With divorce rates rocketing, you need to prepare for the worst. It’s why the wealthy often spend as much time with lawyers as they do wedding planners. Let’s take a look at some of the things you need to look at when preparing for marriage.

Leaving Her at the Altar

If you decide marriage isn’t for you before the wedding, it might cost you a lot of money. In states like Hawaii, South Carolina, and New York you could be paying for emotional distress to the bride. There’s a law where the bridge can legally sue you for leaving her at the altar.

Thankfully, most states have removed this law, but if you’ve made a promise to marry you best follow through on this promise.

Statute of Frauds and Gift Giving

Any gifts given in preparation for marriage, such as a ring, must be returned to the giver. There must be proof it was given as part of a marriage proposal, though. Everything must be in writing or the statute of frauds comes into force.

Without this requirement, anyone could claim money from their former partners by pretending they promised X, Y, and Z to them as part of the marriage contract. In short, make sure any gifts are in writing before entering into a marriage promise.

Property Law

Property law in relation to marriage is always complicated. There are two major categories of state. Everything depends on where you reside and where you eventually get married.

Let’s start with the states once owned by either France or Spain, such as California, Nevada, and Arizona. In these states, any property acquired by a spouse and their collective income is considered to be owned by the community. The community, in this case, is both partners.

In the event of a divorce, this would result in the property and its value being split down the middle.

This only applies to property acquired after the marriage. If both spouses owned a property each before the marriage, this would remain their own even in the event of a divorce. These properties are considered part of the community if the deeds are changed.

In every other state, such as New York, Delaware, and Georgia, the property of a married person is defined as separately owned or jointly owned. This is an independent decision made by the partnership. It isn’t automatic. Jointly owned property works in the same way as community-owned property, although different levels of ownership can be applied.


Finally, there’s palimony to take into account. This is a written agreement that states if a relationship breaks up, both parties promise to support each other. In practice, the wealthier person would make payments to the poorer individual afterwards. Again, this needs to be written down.

Without a written agreement, the statute of frauds comes into play again and any verbal agreements aren’t sustainable legally.

Overall, marriage is complicated and any agreements need to be written down by a qualified lawyer. Make sure all these affairs are in order before committing to such a life-changing relationship.

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Vivian Richards is a successful and a renowned divorce attorney. She has worked for many high profile celebrities and business tycoons in her two-decade long career. She shares her experiences and insights through her articles.