Pittsburgh Marriage Lawyer
The decision to get married is certainly a joyous occasion and a time to celebrate; however, it is important to remember that a marriage extends far beyond a fancy wedding in a pretty dress and sharp tuxedos. There are also numerous significant legal aspects to consider and it is best to begin your union by gathering all of the facts regarding how to get legally married in Pennsylvania, address any issues, and deal with any financial concerns.
With advice from an experienced family attorney, you can avoid many of the pitfalls that affect newlywed couples throughout Pennsylvania. Call Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC at (412) 471-5100 and speak to a dedicated and knowledgeable Pittsburgh marriage lawyer who can help ensure your lives together begin on a path toward success.
Pennsylvania Marriage Requirements
Under Pennsylvania law, marriage is allowed between any two people, over the age of 18, who are not prohibited relatives (brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents, or first cousins), who are not already married, and who have obtained a valid marriage license.
If you are between 16 and 17-years-old, and depending upon the county, you may need to provide written consent from a parent or legal guardian when you file for your license. If you are 15-years-old or younger, a parent or guardian will need to appear when you apply for the license, in addition to having the marriage application approved by a judge, indicating the marriage is in the minor’s best interest.
To obtain a marriage license, you and your future spouse will need to visit the Marriage License Bureau and fill out the application together. You will both need to show a valid photo ID, such as a passport or driver’s license and a second form that show’s your social security number (a W-2 tax form, birth certificate, or social security card).
If either party has been married before, they will also need to show documentation that their previous marriage is no longer valid. This can be done with a divorce decree, annulment documents, or a death certificate. There is no blood test required in Pennsylvania and fees for the application can vary by county. Additionally, there is a three-day mandatory waiting period between the time you file for the license and when the marriage can be legalized by someone authorized to perform marriage ceremonies, such as a minister, rabbi, judge, or Justice of the Peace.
Marriage Issues in Pennsylvania
There are a lot of misconceptions and myths that revolve around marriage and what actually constitutes a legal union in Pennsylvania. Sometimes, these misunderstandings are not brought up until a union, unfortunately, ends and issues regarding property division, child support, and alimony are contested.
Some of the marriage issues we can help with include:
- Domestic Partnerships – When two people live together as a couple but are not legally married, they will be unable to claim the benefits only afforded to married people. However, individuals who meet certain criteria can take steps to ensure they maintain some control over their financial, medical, and other needs through a cohabitation agreement. A capable family attorney can help facilitate this and answer any question you may have.
- Common Law Marriage – Pennsylvania has not recognized common law since January of 2005, but existing common law unions are still considered valid. If you and your partner are not sure whether or not you were married in the eyes of the law, contact an experienced Pittsburgh marriage lawyer to discuss the situation.
- LGBTQ Marriage – The laws concerning same-sex couples have progressed drastically over the past few years, but there are still several legal obstacles for same-sex partners and their families. Family law issues for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals can be very complicated with regard to adoption, divorce, custody, and debt distribution, among others and you’ll need help from a knowledgeable attorney.
How a Marriage Lawyer Can Help
When couples decide to get married, it is understandably a very exciting time, full of grand plans and romantic gestures. However, when the ceremony is over, marriage remains a legal contract and several realities need to be addressed. Therefore, it is often a sensible decision for both partners to discuss the terms of that contract prior to their wedding. A qualified family law attorney can help you both weigh the options of a prenuptial agreement to protect any relevant interests before an unforeseen conflict arises.
Speak with a Pittsburgh Family Lawyer Today
Everyone loves a wedding and a while a marriage can grow into a beautiful, life-long partnership, a lot of newlyweds ignore some critical aspects of intertwining their lives, finances, and futures. Considering these legal realities may seem unromantic for you and your future spouse, but you should look at them as the first step in building a strong and committed marriage.
Starting off on the same page with your partner is very important and with a compassionate and knowledgeable Pittsburgh marriage lawyer, you can avoid a lot of unnecessary trouble and confidently take the next step in your lives.