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The Financial Implications of Getting Married

Life Stages Blog Series Part 3

If you’ve recently been engaged and your wedding is fast approaching on the horizon, consider us late to the party: congratulations! Though we’re not the first (and hardly the last) ones to reach out and congratulate you on such a major life milestone, it doesn’t change how significant this public declaration of love is. Feelings like joy, anxiety, and uncertainty may flood your daily thoughts post-engagement, knowing that your life has shifted since you’ve permanently committed yourself to your partner. Truly, marriage is nothing shy of a big deal.

The Prospect Of Marriage Sparks Many Financial Questions

Whether you choose to have a modest backyard wedding or a full-blown, no-holds-barred celebration, weddings tend to be expensive affairs that warrant months and months of careful planning both in the way of finances and logistics. From attractive tax breaks to increased levels of financial accountability, this high-level guide to the financial implications of marriage (and the subsequent honeymoon) only scratches the surface of what to keep in mind.

We’re Here To Help Send You Off

Fortunately, to help you ensure that you and your new spouse or spouse-to-be are financially prepared for the road ahead, NebraskaLand Bank offers the third installment to our blog series on navigating the financial ups and downs of life. Should you have any questions at any point during this article, don’t hesitate to contact our friendly Community Bankers. We’re here to help!

Understanding That Marriage Is a Legally-Binding Contract

Marriage is more than just a lifelong declaration of your love for one another: it’s a legal union of two people. While common law marriages occur in certain states, most marriages involve a standard ceremony and subsequent marriage license. It’s important to note that while your romantic connection is paramount to a successful marriage, there will be a number of financial and legal changes that occur post-engagement.

Before You Get Married

Typically, the rights and responsibilities ascertained by marriage are determined by the state that you live in — in this case, Nebraska. While that’s fine for most people, you should know that it is possible for you and your spouse to modify rules via a premarital or prenuptial agreement. This is helpful in the case that you’d like to keep your property separate.

Here are some helpful questions to bear in mind before you bear that ring and seal the deal:

  • Should our assets be collectively managed, kept separate, or a combination of the two?
  • Will signing a prenuptial agreement yield any advantages, particularly financial advantages?
  • How do I go about creating a legally binding prenuptial agreement? Do I need the help of a reputable lawyer?

It’s around this point where you’ll start to notice that the worlds of finance and law begin to melt together.

Planning and Accounting For the Marriage Itself

Regardless of if your wedding is fancy or as simple and cost-effective as possible, you’ll still need to meet basic requirements. Keep these questions in mind as the date approaches and make sure that you have the answers to them:

  • How do I (we) obtain a marriage license and certificate?
  • Who is allowed to perform the ceremony?
  • How will the ceremony (and reception, if applicable) be financed? Who’s family is paying for what?
  • Do I understand and meet all of the legal requirements for marriage?

When it comes to wedding planning, these practical but important questions should be kept separate from the endless, intricate details that you’ll most likely have to deal with the help of a seasoned wedding planner.

Marriage Rights and Benefits

The financial implications of getting married are usually perceived as positive due to the tax breaks that you’ll be receiving. Tax benefits are obtained when you file jointly with your spouse, but there are many other benefits that you can obtain beyond those related to taxes:

  • Estate planning benefits (including inheritance rights)
  • Government benefits like Social Security for your spouse
  • Employment benefits like receiving health insurance through your spouse’s employer
  • Consumer benefits like family rates on various types of insurance policies

The financial benefits (and related responsibilities) that accompany marriage are numerous and should be thoroughly discussed with your spouse and each of your banks or other relevant financial professionals.

Financial Responsibilities of Marriage

Though the financial responsibilities of marriage tend to vary between different states, you and your spouse can expect to take on the following:

  • The sharing of income and property acquired during the marriage
  • Liability for various family expenses (on either side)
  • Financial support of your children during the marriage
  • Financial responsibility for your spouse in the event of a divorce

Note that these are financial responsibilities that are tied to the legalities of getting married, not personal finances that are up to the discretion of you and your partner to navigate.

What To Do After The Honeymoon

While financing your honeymoon is another important part of budgeting for a wedding, you’ll have “reality” to come back to after your honeymoon. At this point, you are legally tied to your spouse, meaning that you’ll eventually need to:

  • Go about changing your name legally
  • Adding your spouse as a beneficiary on your bank accounts, retirement plans, securities, life insurance policies, and so forth
  • Adopting your spouse’s children (if applicable)
  • Adding your spouse to your health insurance policy
  • Incorporating your spouse into their estate planning documents

Turn Your Financial Doubts Into Confidence With NebraskaLand Bank

You got married out of the love that you have for one another, and that’s great! That’s how marriage should be approached. Knowing that you’re probably not familiar with all of the financial ins and outs of marriage, our network of Community Banks at NebraskaLand are here to help you make the right decisions during this major life milestone.

Choosing to get married is a big decision in and of itself, and the resulting financial consequences are nothing to shake off. Again, congratulations on this lifelong commitment. Our wedding gift to you is to provide any financial guidance that you need. Get started today!