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Preparing for marriage and the possibility of a divorce

Probably the last thing couples who are about to get married think about is the possibility of divorce. Unfortunately, statistics show that nearly half of marriages in the United States do not last, so the possibility of divorce, however hard to think about, is a legitimate concern.

While preparing for marriage, there are many things couples need to be aware of. Part of the marriage process is obtaining a marriage license from the county clerk. This can only be done if the marriage is permissible. There are guidelines to marriage, and some are obvious while others are not. You and your spouse must not already be in a marriage; in most states you must both be 18 years of age or older, or have consent from a parent or guardian; you must both have the mental capacity to enter into the contract - mental illness or an addiction to drugs or alcohol may limit a person's mental capacity; and you must not be blood relatives - in most states, this is no more than a third cousin.

A marriage license is typically valid for up to 30 days, after which time you must apply for a new one. There is also a waiting period of up to five days in most states from the time you are issued your license to the time when you have your marriage ceremony. This is done to give both sides an opportunity to change their minds. However, in Missouri there is no waiting period. The marriage ceremony must have a valid witness and officiant, who could be a minister, rabbi, priest or judge.

Before the wedding couples may also want to consider drafting a prenuptial agreement. This will protect the assets of both sides if a divorce does occur. It can save a lot of headache and heartache to have a full understanding of not only property division, but other decisions that need to be made during a divorce process. It may not be a popular discussion as you approach a wedding, but it could be very beneficial down the line.

Source: findlaw.com "Legal Requirements for Marriage FAQ's," Accessed Sept. 20, 2015

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Joseph J. Porzenski
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