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Charlotte Mecklenburg Marriage Lawyers

Marriage is a voluntary, private contract between two adults. While it is a personal and emotional commitment, it is also an official relationship that changes the legal status of both parties. A family law attorney from Knox Law Center in Charlotte, NC, can help you to understand the legal technicalities of marriage, as well as the rights and responsibilities that come along with it.

The legal rights and obligations associated with marriage have evolved with our society and today are the same for both spouses. Each state has its own rules about marriage, but there are some uniform principles, including:

  • Who can marry whom. Each state prohibits marriage between brothers and sisters, parent and child, and some prohibit marriage between aunt or uncle and niece or nephew. Traditionally, most states wouldn”t issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but a landmark 2015 Supreme Court case made it permissible for gay and lesbian partners across the country to marry.
  • Age requirements. Each state has a minimum age requirement, typically 18 years old before a marriage license can be issued. Some states permit marriage at a younger age if parental consent is given.
  • Residency requirements. Most states require one or both of the parties to reside in the state for a specific period of time before issuing a marriage license.
  • Medical exam and licensing. Some states require the completion of a medical exam and blood test before issuing a marriage license. The marriage license must be issued by a designated public official.
  • Ceremony and officials. Some states require a formal ceremony of some kind with witnesses and a licensed public or religious official in order to recognize the marriage. It doesn’t need to be elaborate, but both parties must officially give their consent to the union.

Common law marriage

Many couples believe they will form a common law marriage and be entitled to the legal benefits and obligations of married couples if they live together for a significant period of time. It is not quite that simple. Each state defines the requirements that must be met to legally qualify as having a common law marriage, and some states no longer recognize common law marriage at all.

Generally, a common law marriage is recognized when a heterosexual couple lives together in a common law marriage state for a significant period. Among the states that recognize common law marriage, none define the time period per se, but typically, a ten-year-old relationship or longer is required. The couple must also have the intent to be married, which is generally measured by whether or not the couple presents themselves to the public as a married couple. Evidence of the necessary intent includes sharing the same last name, filing joint tax returns and referring to each other as husband or wife.

As of yet, no states have made explicit provisions recognizing common law marriages for same-sex couples, but LGBT family law is an ever-evolving area.

Premarital and cohabitation agreements

Couples who are considering marriage or living together may benefit from talking to a family law attorney about the advantages of a premarital agreement (also called a “prenuptial agreement” or an “antenuptial agreement”) or a cohabitation agreement. Although these types of contracts are not necessary very romantic, premarital agreements are a useful tool for defining the legal relationships between two people, particularly as they relate to property. Generally, the intent of these agreements is to create a framework for handling money and property issues during the marriage or relationship and to create a road map for property division should the relationship eventually end.

Each state has its own laws about what types of issues can be addressed in a premarital agreement, but there are some commonalities across state lines. For example, most states will not uphold agreements about child custody or support, and they will not uphold agreements that were created fraudulently or unfairly or that go against public policy. A number of states have also adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. The Act dictates how premarital agreements should address property ownership, control, and management during the marriage and how property should be divided upon separation, divorce or death.

Contact a family law attorney today

Getting married is one of the most important things people do. It reflects a deep emotional commitment while also changing the parties’ legal statuses. By understanding your rights and obligations as a married person, you may more fully appreciate the step you are taking. Before you marry or move in with your partner, consult a family law lawyer at Knox Law Center in Charlotte, NC, to identify any future issues that you could resolve now to prevent difficulties later.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.


Mar 4, 2020
 by Anonymous on Knox Law Center
Exceptional Legal Representation & True Professional, Genuine Individual

I first met Allen after he was recommended to me by a friend, and I couldn't be happier with the service that he provided. He demonstrated a unique attention to detail in my case, as well as expressed a genuine interest in me as a person. Through a great deal of hard work, Allen was able to appeal my case and get all of my charges dismissed. I couldn't be more grateful for him and his assistant, Sherry, for their legal and personal support during such a difficult time. Hiring Allen was the greatest decision I've ever made, and I would recommend Allen to anyone seeking exceptional legal representation.

Feb 23, 2020
 by Anonymous on Knox Law Center
The most amazing lawyer, a true gem & winner

Allen is the best lawyer I've ever met! His character is genuine, and there is a warmth about him that makes you feel so comfortable. If you ever get into a situation with DWI, and feel truly remorseful for what happened, HIRE him for the BEST chance possible. I previously spent 6000$ on an attorney who just didn't feel like they really gave me the personal care that I needed. They were only in it for the money. After hearing raving reviews about Allen, I fired my lawyer and took a leap of faith with Allen. Even though I had to pay two separate times and could not get a refund for the previous lawyer, IT WAS WORTH EVERY PENNY!!!! He won my case with dignity, respect, and care and I am forever thankful to him for this.

m. becker
Feb 4, 2020
 by m. becker on Knox Law Center

I was falsely accused of a terrible crime that would have ruined my future. During the trial Allen was very prepared, but in addition when the false "victim" testified to some unexpected stuff. Allen was able to come up with a way on the fly to prove the witness was lying. At just the right time he jumped on her in cross-examination, and I was found not guilty! I am so glad I chose Allen as my lawyer. I highly recommend Allen Brotherton as a great lawyer.

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