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5 Essential Legal Actions to Take After Getting Married

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

Now that you and your spouse have said 'I do,' you might be saying to yourself, 'I'm finally done.' But not so fast, my newlywed friends -- there are still a few marriage i's to dot and t's to cross. Marriage isn't just an oral agreement between two spouses. It's also a legal institution, and as such, you have some legal requirements to follow through on.

From filing the marriage certificate to filing for a name change to filing your taxes, here are five legal actions you should take after you get married.

1. Certifying the Marriage

Remember all the trouble you had to go through getting a marriage license? That was just the first part. Now that you've said your vows, you need to file the marriage certificate to make it all official with the state. State laws on deadlines can vary, but if you had a wedding at the courthouse you can probably file at the same time.

2. Changing Your Name

Taking a spouse's last name is not legally required, but many people still follow the tradition, and it can make future paperwork a bit easier. If you do decide to change your last name, keep in mind that some entities may ask for certain verification, so may help to start with places like your social security card and driver's license before moving to bank accounts and magazine subscriptions.

3. Updating Your Policies

Some of this happens before the marriage, but you will probably need to update your life insurance policy, auto insurance policy, and your health insurance coverage to include both you and your spouse. These are fairly simple procedures, but bear in mind that adding coverage may increase costs.

4. Rewriting Your Will

Even young people need a will, and if you don't have one yet, now's the time to write one. It may seem macabre coming after such a wonderful wedding day, but a will provides peace of mind and guidance through the toughest of times.

5. Penning a Postnup

You've heard of a prenup agreement, and all the unsavory reasons you would want one. As it turns out, you can also have a postnuptial agreement that covers all the same legal issues, just after the marriage. Though not legally required, a postnup could be legally helpful later.

If you need a hand getting your post-marriage paperwork in order, it may help to talk to an experienced family law attorney.

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