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You want to get married on the fly, possibly in secret. But that doesn't mean you can't put some planning into your elopement. And if you want your secret marriage to last, in the legal sense at least, you'll want to be prepared.
Here is our best legal advice for eloping couples, from our archives:
Step one is to make sure your marriage plan is legal. As long as you're of legal age in the state where you plan to elope, you should be OK. And while you may be hiding your marriage from some people, you will need to notify the state and obtain and file the necessary paperwork.
There's a certain romance to elopement, but that doesn't mean the decision to get married can't be well thought out. Sorting out financial and legal questions ahead of time can even reduce any anxiety heading into the union.
Even if you don't have a lot of time before you elope, you'll need to get the marriage license sorted out first at least. And you may even consider a prenup.
Different states may have different requirements or protocols for marriage licenses, in terms of identifying documents, qualifying declarations, and notice requirements. Make sure you're familiar with state laws where you're eloping to, otherwise your marriage may be moot.
And, just for fun, we thought we'd include some non-legal advice, from John and Ann Betar, who celebrated their 84th wedding anniversary this year. Most people don't live to be 84, let alone spend all that time with the same spouse, so we've got a lot to learn from them.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.