Legal Implications of Marriage

In today’s society it is easy to get carried away with the romantic aspects of marriage and preparing for a wedding. Sometimes, people get so carried away that they forget that marriage is a legal contract between two people. In the UK marriage is forbidden to people with close blood ties. Originally the rules on relationships were a religious requirement rather than any worry over physical problems. Over time an increasing number of scientists and doctors warn against marriage with close kin because it can cause abnormalities in any child of that relationship. Sibling marriage is definitely forbidden and many people are against first cousin marriage too.

Marriages are also forbidden in the UK between certain relations by marriage. A man cannot marry either his former daughter in law or his former mother in law; a woman cannot marry her former son in law nor her former father in law. However there are some easing of these restrictions so a man who is over 21 could marry his former daughter in law if neither his wife nor his son is still alive, the same rule applies to women over the age of 21. In step families there are restrictions if two people have lived as step mother and step son in the same household for a number of years.

If you wish to get married in the UK then you will need to fulfill some legal requirements. You must be of sound mind and not married to someone else when you enter into the relationship. Notice has to be given to the registrar and the church and the fees paid for the marriage licence. Registration has to be done in the district in which you live and either the bans read in church or a certificate obtained. Marriage ceremonies in the UK have to be in a properly licenced place and the ceremony and registration performed by a properly licensed person. You need two independent witnesses to a marriage and you must have provided your birth certificate, your decree absolute if you have been married before or death certificate if you are widowed. If you wish to marry and are under the age of 18 then you will need written permission from your parent or guardian. If you wish to marry in the Anglican Church then you will also need to provide a baptismal certificate.

Unless you have a pre-nuptial agreement before you marry, once you have been living together for a certain amount of time the law says that any assets and income from selling the family home should be equally divided. If you divorce, the judge can award a maintenance order against the husband or the wife, depending on who earns the most money. If there are children of the marriage then residency, contact issues and everything else to do with parental responsibility for a child have to be put in writing and presented to the court by a solicitor. A marriage can only be dissolved after you have been married for at least a year and if the court is satisfied as to the grounds of the divorce and the arrangements for any children.