While you may hear church bells ringing on your wedding day, you should also be prepared to hear the intense shuffling of papers it takes to actually get you both down the aisle!
That’s right: There’s wedding paperwork to be done. While marriage forms are the least exciting part of wedding planning, they’re definitely the most important part of the process.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common forms of wedding paperwork you’ll encounter.
The Marriage License
While some of the paperwork we’ll talk about is optional, a marriage license really isn’t (at least in the eyes of the law.)
You’ll want to start thinking about obtaining a marriage license about a month before your wedding. You two will need to go together to turn in the application at the license office.
When you go to get the license, it’s a good idea to bring some cash, as some license offices won’t accept cards. You should also bring a valid government ID and know your Social Security number. If you were married before, you’ll also need to bring proof that your previous marriage has ended.
It’s important to give yourself plenty of time to do this, especially because some states have waiting periods that can seriously cramp your style come wedding day. That said, most marriage licenses have an expiration date thirty to sixty days after issuing.
The Prenuptial Agreement (Prenup)
Ah, yes. The dreaded prenup. While some couples avoid talking about a prenup, that uncomfortable conversation is definitely worth having.
Prenups get a bad rap because they are essentially there to outline what will happen if the happy couple gets divorced. While no one wants to think about those details during their engagement, there are a lot of pros to a prenup.
For example, a prenup can tell you a lot about your relationship and how your partner views finances and how they think about the future. It can also save you from a nasty and messy divorce in the future.
A lot of people think that a prenup is “planning for divorce.” But think about it: Just because you get car insurance doesn’t mean you’re planning for a crash.
The Postnuptial Agreement (Post Nup)
While less popular than the aforementioned prenup, postnuptial agreements are also paperwork worth considering.
So what’s the difference? While a PREnup happens before marriage, a POSTnup happens after marriage.
Why would people who are already married consider a postnuptial agreement? There are a host of reasons.
Often, if a spouse cheats but the couple decides to work through it, a post nup can take the form of an apology. Other times, post nups are used to protect a spouse who is expecting a significant inheritance from older relatives.
The Skinny on Wedding Paperwork
No one likes paperwork. It can feel especially obtrusive when it’s commingling with the union of two people in love.
But ultimately, taking the time to do your wedding paperwork right will save you pain in the long run. Make sure you’re on top of things before your wedding so you can enjoy the day without worrying about forms.
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