Getting married is a big step in life and a very personal decision, but often people may not be aware of what it means from a legal standpoint. After all, when you get married you’re taking on the responsibility to care for your spouse and any children you may have together, an obligation that is also held by your spouse. The act of marriage can also transform the way that you and your spouse hold property and how your property will be disposed of when either of you pass away or if there is a divorce.

Issues Addressed by State Marriage Laws

Many of the responsibilities and determinations of marriage are determined by the laws of the state in which you live, including what types of marriages are prohibited and the criteria for an annulment. One of the biggest distinctions among states is whether they’ve enacted community property laws, as this will have a direct impact on your marital assets.

Many states also allow spouses to enter into private agreements with respect to their legal obligations. These can include prenuptial agreements or even agreements during a marriage. States may impose additional requirements for these types of agreements beyond normal contracting requirements, such as the need for review periods before they are signed. However, if valid, these agreements can override any default state laws to the contrary.

State Laws on Marriage: Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws

Before you get married, it’s helpful to understand the laws that will apply to your marriage. After all, this could help you to avoid certain surprises or major disputes down the line and can ensure that you are going into marriage fully informed. To make things easier, below you will find links to laws on prohibited marriage and annulment laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.