It's not all it's cracked up to be!

You're about to enter a legally binding contract with the love of your life, what could possibly go wrong?

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There are a lot of factors to take into account when considering marriage. Just the cost of the wedding itself is astronomical!

indiana wedding
Indiana wedding - Canva

The average wedding in the United States cost $29,000 in 2023; This number comes from popular wedding and registry website Zola, so they know what they're talking about.

In Indiana that number is slightly less with couples averaging $24,531 in 2023.

When you're considering tying the knot in the Hoosier state should you opt to simply cohabitate with your significant other what legal protections are offered to you-- if any?

What Defines Common Law Marriage?

Most Americans believe if you live together long enough and your lives are intertwined in more ways than one, whether that be having kids together or joint assets, you're essentially married in the eyes of the law.

A common myth is that couples can be recognized as a common law married in most states after 7 years together but that isn't necessarily true. Only 15 states in the U.S. recognize common law marriage-- and Indiana is not one of them!

According to Indiana's Law Office of Travis Van Winkle LLC the State of Indiana abolished common law marriage in 1958.

As such, even if you have been together for 5, 10, 20 or even 50 years, Indiana does not recognize common-law marriages present day, even if you would have met the pre-1958 definition.

After doing some quick math that means even if a couple has been cohabitating for the last 67 years, since 1957, they are still not considered "married" in the eyes of Indiana law.

For couples who do not plan on marrying legally Van Winkle legal says,

You do not have to enter marriage if it is not the right choice for your relationship. But you also may want to consider setting up a cohabitation agreement, and using estate planning tools, like wills, trusts and power of attorneys. These can effectively give you many of the same marriage rights without actually getting married.

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