Planning to finally propose to your love? Made a decision about your relationship? Well and good, but have you asked the right questions to base this decision on? There are many things to know and work out before getting married to somebody. Marriage takes a lot of work during it and even before one says I do. There are so many things to do before marriage and many factors to consider.
While walking down an aisle and saying ‘I do’ is the most magical time of one’s life, it is also equally important to finalize some of the practical aspects of a new marriage before a wedding. We give you a lowdown on things you should do before a wedding to have a happy married life that covers all the essential legal and social bases.
6 Things Couples Should Talk About Before Marriage
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While contemplating marriage is a matter of the heart, it’s also important that you involve your head and prepare yourself for it beforehand so you ease into life after marriage. Things to know before getting married, analyzing the living situation, finances and families – there is a lot happening. There are many things nobody tells you about marriage before a wedding.
But we have your back. Apart from the wedding ceremony and rituals, here are a few things you must take stock of and carefully consider before the big D-day arrives:
1. Apply for a marriage license
This is the first and most important step that you must know and take while getting married is to legalize your marital bond. It not only secures your marriage as newlyweds but will also safeguard the partners in the likelihood of separation, divorce or demise of one of the spouses.
For the marriage registration, you will require important documents such as your age and address proof, which can be furnished through government-issued IDs such as Pan Card, Passport, Aadhaar Card or driving license, your class tenth certificate, along with 2 passport size individual photos each, your wedding invitation, a wedding photo together, a copy of divorce, if necessary, death certificate of husband or wife, if either partner is a widow or widower.
You will also need to bring 2 witnesses with their ID proofs for acquiring the same at a district registrar’s office, pay a minimal registration fee. The certificate will be issued anywhere between 7 days to 3 months after the marriage registration.
Yes, it can be a tedious process, especially when you have so much going on in your life after getting married, what with your honeymoon, post-wedding rituals, setting up a new home and so on. That’s why planning for marriage registration and arranging all necessary documents beforehand is one of the most important things to do before marriage.
2. Marriage laws are different according to religion
As a married couple, your marriage will be solemnized as per the laws in our country, and here your religion becomes an important factor. Marriage laws are different for people belonging to different religions and communities.
That’s why the various laws provided for interfaith or inter-community marriage are among the important things to know before marriage. If both partners are Hindu, then the marriage will be registered as per the Hindu Marriage Act, 1950. In case both partners belong to different religions, then the marriage will fall under the purview of the Special Marriage Act, 1954.
Under the Hindu Marriage Act, both the husband and wife need to apply to the sub-registrar under whose ward the marriage was sanctified or the local municipal office. They have to produce an affidavit stating place and date of marriage, marital status at the time of marriage, date of birth of both partners and nationalities of both.
3. Decide on your name change
This is one of the things couples should talk about before marriage. While it is not at all necessary for a wife to take her husband’s surname after marriage, if you wish to, then you have to apply for a name change with the state government gazette office.
The details of the changed name will also have to be published in at least one local newspaper. Alternatively, you can opt for a Joint Notarized Affidavit from a legal official. Either way, you must add this to your list of things to do before marriage.
This will aid your name change in important documents like PAN Card, Aadhaar Card, bank records etc. While usually, women tend to change their surname after marriage, these days many Indian newly married couples are keeping their birth names and surnames after marriage too.
Related Reading: Prenuptial Agreement- How It Can Protect Your Future
4. Discuss your partner’s past
One of the things to do before you get married is talking about the past so you can be on the same page in the future. Remember in India, marriage is not just the union of two people but also of their families. This would mean you directly become linked to their debts, assets, family issues and so on. Take the time to find out about your partner’s family and also about their past relationships.
Your goal should be to go into the marriage with as few secrets as possible so that you can enjoy a long and fruitful happy union. Honesty is definitely on the happy marriage checklist. These factors become important as you look to legalize your marriage as a new couple, so ensure to have a discussion beforehand.
5. Things to look into in case of a second marriage
If this a second marriage either one or both of you, look into the terms of settlement in case of a divorce. Has your partner paid one-time alimony or are they paying regular maintenance to their ex-spouse? If yes, how much it is and how much will be left from their earnings to contribute to your new household?
It is also important to know your partner’s custody arrangement, if there are children involved, and their expectations from you vis-a-vis a relationship with the stepchildren.
Find out the kind of relationship your partner maintains with the ex. Is it just cordial or is it that they are still in the joint decision-making stage? These are among the important things to know and determine before marriage.
6. Discuss each other’s finances
One of the things to do before getting married is to have a discussion about money. This does not mean you have a loveless marriage but that you are a pragmatic couple. This is something that people usually don’t do in love marriages but this is the most important thing to be discussed.
Before you tie the knot, do discuss important aspects like property, finances, debts, assets and splitting of expenses. While talking about finances, specifically, discuss everything from credit cards, bank accounts, retirement plans to pre-existing loans or debt and your partner’s spending habits.
This would also give a fair idea if your partner is financially sound and what you need to do in case everything is not up to the mark. This is important as debts and assets you incur may become marital property after your marriage and would be split during a divorce.
These include wages, interest earned on investments and home. Work out a proper saving and investment plan with your partner and start a joint account to have more transparency in a husband and wife relationship. Also, have a contingency plan worked out for emergencies and opt for health insurance to cover both of you and shockproof your happy marriage against future medical emergencies.
By focusing on these not-so-rosy things to do before marriage, you will both take the first step starting off your new life on a strong footing. When it comes to a life-long partnership, these little details can go a long way in saving the day for you and your spouse.
Understand the union of the families, decide on where to live, changing names, sign a prenup and discuss past histories.
Rush into it and decide to figure out the nitty gritty later. You must plan a marriage properly.
She should know her fiancé’s past, decide if she wants to change her name or not, and talk about division of assets.