7 Essential Legal Actions to Take After Getting Married

February 15, 2023
6 min

Congrats on tying the knot! Now that you're officially married, it's time to take care of some critical legal actions. Marriage is a huge milestone that comes with a variety of obligations and modifications.

One of the most significant things to do post-wedding is to guarantee that both partners are shielded and their rights are maintained. By taking care of the things on this list after marriage, couples can avoid possible legal issues down the line. This will provide them with assurance, understanding that their legal standing is current and they are both safeguarded. Moreover, having all documents in order makes it easier to tackle any legal concerns or disputes that could come up. 

Understanding the Legal Rights of Spouses

Marriage grants several legal rights and responsibilities between spouses, including the right to acquire and use property jointly, inheritance rights, the ability to make medical decisions for a spouse, tax benefits, and access to certain insurance policies. Married couples may also be entitled to certain Social Security benefits in the event of death or disability of one spouse. Additionally, married couples may be entitled to certain immigration benefits, such as the ability to sponsor a spouse for a green card or visa. Understanding these basic rights will only solidify your commitment to each other and help build a stronger life together.

Below you'll find a list of seven essential legal actions you should consider after getting married–plus, some services that could help make the process easier!

Creating a Joint Bank Account

Creating a joint bank account after marriage is important because it allows both spouses to access and manage their household finances together. This makes it easier to track and manage joint expenses, such as rent or mortgage payments, utilities, and groceries. It also ensures that both spouses have access to the same funds for emergencies, making it easier for both of them to make decisions without having to consult each other. Additionally, it can make filing taxes simpler, as all of your joint income and expenses are in one account. Lastly, it can help build a stronger financial relationship with each other, as it encourages transparency and communication regarding the couple’s money and finances.

Close-up Photography Two Brown Debit Cards

Choosing a Last Name

Adopting your spouse's surname is not a legal obligation, however, many individuals choose to uphold this tradition, which can simplify future paperwork processes. Should you opt to alter your surname, be aware that some organizations may request proof of the change, so it is recommended to begin by updating your social security card and driver's license, followed by your bank accounts and magazine subscriptions. 

If you decide to change your name it can be a nice way to signify the beginning of your marriage. Courtly provides U.S. Name Change Kits in select states. Name Change Kits can be a good tool for you to use if you do decide to take on a new name. They can help you file the necessary paperwork with the Social Security Administration and the DMV amongst other things.

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Protecting Assets

It's important for even young individuals to have a will, and if you haven't created one yet, now is the time to do so. While it may seem ominous following such a joyful wedding day, a will offers a sense of security and a roadmap during difficult times. Update your estate plan, if you have one. This includes any wills, trusts, or powers of attorney. US Legal Wills could be your go to site for any questions you may encounter that could make this easier to tackle.

For a limited time, take 15% off your Last Will and Testament with US Legal Wills when you use code COURTLY15.
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Filing a Marriage Certificate

If you want a simpler and less expensive option to a traditional wedding consider online marriage services like Courtly. For an all-inclusive fee, Courtly handles all the necessary paperwork and only needs to collect basic information from you. You don’t even have to go through all the trouble of applying for a marriage license because we can do that for you too! This document is a vital record of your marriage that should be filed with the appropriate office in your state. Make sure to keep a copy for yourself, too.

Bouquet of Flowers Beside Marriage Certificate

Updating Beneficiaries

While some of these actions may occur prior to the wedding, it is likely that you will need to revise your life insurance, car insurance, and health insurance policies to encompass both yourself and your spouse. These changes are usually straightforward, however, it's important to keep in mind that adding coverage may result in increased expenses. Depending on your state and the benefits you receive, you may need to update your insurance and other accounts to include your new spouse.

It's also a good idea to get a trusted insurance agent, like Policy Genius, to help you put together a health and life insurance plan. An insurance agent can help you sift through all the different options and complicated contracts. They can help you find the best policy at a price plan that suits your budget. Plus, they can answer all the questions you may have about protecting your future. 

Making Healthcare Decisions

It is important to think about how you and your spouse would like to handle healthcare decisions after marriage. This includes deciding who will be designated as the primary decision-maker in the event of a medical emergency. In most states, if you do not choose a primary decision-maker, the decision could default to your spouse. Therefore, it is important to decide who will be responsible for healthcare decisions for both of you. You can do this through a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare.

This document allows you to appoint someone to make healthcare decisions on your behalf and it can be changed or revoked at any time. Additionally, many people choose to have an Advance Directive, which outlines specific wishes and instructions for end-of-life care. Having these documents in place is an important part of planning for your healthcare future. Marriage grants several legal rights and responsibilities between spouses, including the right to acquire and use property jointly, inheritance rights, the ability to make medical decisions for a spouse, tax benefits, and access to certain insurance policies.

Emergency Signage

Planning for Retirement

Having a plan in place can help couples save money for retirement, such as through 401(K) plans, IRAs, and other retirement savings accounts. Retirement planning also helps couples prepare for potential unexpected expenses, such as health care costs, long-term care, or in the event of death. Planning for retirement can also help couples reduce their tax burden, or even increase their Social Security benefits in the future. Taking the time to plan for retirement can help couples feel more secure in their financial futures and can help them achieve their goals.

Applying for a Spousal Visa (if needed)

Applying for a spousal visa can be a complicated and lengthy process. If you opt to take on this project by yourself remember there are many steps to take before your loved one is going to be able to get their Visa. The applicant must first submit a completed application form with the relevant information, such as proof of the marriage, birth certificate, and passport. Photographs of the couple together may be required as well. 

In addition to the documents mentioned above, it is also important to provide evidence that the couple has a genuine relationship. This could include emails, letters, photos, and other mementos of the relationship. Finally, the application for a spousal visa must be accompanied by an affidavit of support, which is a formal document that certifies that the sponsor of the visa will financially support the applicant if they are not able to support themselves. Once the application is approved, the applicant will receive the visa, which will allow them to stay in the country for a specific period of time.

If you'd rather get help with your application and increase your chances of approval, we recommend seeking a trusted immigration lawyer, like Boundless, which can walk you through the process step-by-step.

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There are many things to bear in mind when entering into a marriage. This guide is here to help you breeze across the legal actions you have to undertake after the ceremony.  These are very important steps to take and should not be overlooked.  Delaying the process could only mean more work for you and your partner down the line. So it may seem a little intimidating and tedious but with the help of the sites provided, it can help you tackle these legal actions better.

Let us handle the paperwork.

Getting married is complicated. Courtly simplifies the process and provides everything necessary to get married online, including providing a licensed officiant who can perform a remote ceremony.

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