After lengthy litigation, procedural complications, and back-and-forth court decisions, same-sex marriage became legal in Florida on January 6, 2015. Numerous same-sex couples set off to legally obtain marriage licenses and tie the knot throughout the state right away. While it is understandable that couples would be in a hurry to marry the individual they love, same-sex couples should always take the time to consider the same legal and financial implications of marriage as heterosexual couples. The following are some issues that any couple should consider prior to marriage.
Are you legally eligible to marry?
There are many factors that may make you legally ineligible to marry in the state of Florida, including the following:
- Age — You must be at least 18 years of age to marry in Florida without parental consent.
- Family relationship — You may not marry individual who is a direct descendant, a sibling, or an aunt/uncle or nephew/niece.
- Prior marriage — You may not be married to two individuals in Florida at once so, if you were previously married, that marriage must have been properly dissolved or annulled.
- Mental capacity — Both parties must be of sufficient mind to make the decision to marry.
Clarify Property Ownership
Many couples who plan to marry have already lived together for some time and likely have combined finances and possessions. However, it is always a good idea to clarify what property and what debts belong to each spouse prior to marriage. For example, if one individual owns a business, he or she may want to keep sole ownership of that business during and after the marriage. Similarly, one individual may have trust payments or other inheritances that they do not want to become marital property. During a marriage, it is easy to commingle property, so planning ahead can help prevent this.
Should you draft a premarital agreement?
There are many reasons why couples should consider a premarital agreement, as we have discussed previously on this blog. Some of the most basic reasons include:
- Either you or your partner have substantial property
- There is a significant wealth discrepancy between you and your partner
- You own a business
- You have children from a previous marriage
- You have a specific estate plan you want to uphold
Finally, you have to ensure you take all of the steps necessary to make sure your marriage is legal. You must apply and obtain a marriage license from an authorized court clerk or judge and must have an officiated marriage ceremony within 60 days days of obtaining the license.
Consult with an Experienced Boca Raton Family Law Attorney Today
If you are planning on getting married and wish to seek advice regarding the many legal and financial implications of marriage or discuss a premarital agreement, please do not hesitate to call the office of Alan R. Burton in Boca Raton for assistance today. Mr. Burton is an experienced lawyer handling a wide variety of family law issues related to marriage, children, and divorce, so please call today at 954-229-1660 for a free consultation today.