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Getting married in the United States

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If you intend to get married in the United States, you will learn more about the procedures and types of marriage in this article.

Marriage is a contract that commits two people emotionally, legally and materially. In the U.S., two people of the opposite sex, and two persons of the same sex can easily get married. Marriage is recognized in terms of immigration, but it's not the case for cohabitation or common law.

Formalities

To get married in the United States, you must obtain a marriage license, celebrate your wedding and thereafter, obtain your marriage certificate. If you are over 18 years old, you will easily get your marriage license at the 'County Building'. If you are under 18 years old, you will probably need to be accompanied by your parents. If you have been married in the past, you must be in possession of a proof of divorce.

You can get married in the United States even if you and your partner are not US citizens or permanent residents of the country. To fulfill the formalities, you need to produce your identification documents indicating your place of birth, address and education level. In general, the license will be given to you immediately.

The 'County Clerk' will also give you a brochure on genetic defects and the risks of sexually transmitted diseases. Note that the license will be valid only for a period of 90 days from the date of issue. If you do not celebrate your wedding in this period, you will have to apply for a new license.

The marriage contract in the United States is known as the "prenuptial agreement" and the contract executed after the marriage is known as the "post-marital agreement". This allows you, among others, to manage your property, protect the inheritance of your children if you have been married in the past.

Types of marriages

In some states, marriage is recognized under the "common law marriage" system according to which you live with your partner, you have the same name and you declare all your taxes together. This type of marriage is recognized in almost all states. In others states, there is a "confidential marriage" system whereby nothing is officially released. This type of marriage is to be celebrated in the county issuing the license.

Immigration

If you marry a green card holder, you have to wait several years before immigrating permanently. You need to wait until your spouse becomes a U.S. citizen. If you are going to marry an American, you will need a fiancée visa. Otherwise, your marriage could be considered as a fraud if you arrive in the U.S. as a tourist. If this is the case, you will be expelled and you will have to wait a few years before returning.

To obtain a fiancée visa, you must file an application with the U.S. consulate in your country of residence. Thereafter, you will be invited for an interview in which you will be asked to produce proof of your life together with your partner. Once you obtain your visa, you have 90 days to celebrate your wedding in the U.S.

Useful link: travel.state.gov

 Good to know

If you get your green card through marriage, you can become a U.S. citizen in the following three years. In general, it should take you five years.

Divorce

In the United States, the "no fault" divorce is in force as per the law. A husband can divorce if he wants to, and the other cannot help it. The consent of both spouses is not necessary and no culprit is found. In some states, divorce can also take the form of "dissolution of marriage".

You are allowed to take the decision yourself, as a person responsible adult, regarding the division of your property and custody of your children. In other words, you write your own divorce pending the judge's endorsement. Note that the division of property is made under the law of the state you live in. You will have to agree with your partner regarding the tangible and intangible income factors.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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You will need a working visa to be able to find a job or to follow a training program. If you are a skilled worker, you will need the H1-B visa while for an internship you have to apply for a J-1 visa.

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