Support our mission

If popping the question takes the form of “Ich möchte dich heiraten” or “Mi vuoi sposare?,” pre-marital talks are vital when it comes to money matters, according to financial planners.

“A big consideration when marrying someone from a different culture is that cultural differences may lead to differences over finances,” explained Naval Support Activity Naples Fleet and Family Service Center financial educator David Hatfield.

If the person is tying the knot to a member of the nation where they’re stationed, such as Italy, getting permission — and then the marriage paperwork — usually isn’t too difficult, explained the Naples Navy Legal Service Office’s Connie Henderson.

But anyone marrying in Italy falls under the Italian civil code, which — naturally — is in Italian.

“If you’re going to marry an American or a foreign national in Italy, you’ll need an interpreter,” said Henderson, who works as a liaison officer between the Navy and the local Italian government. The interpreter’s fee will vary, and starts around 100 euros in Europe.

There also will be legal fees for the Italian paperwork, which she said runs around 60 euro. Other countries also have fees for processing paperwork.

And if time is money, marrying a foreign citizen will cost more of that, too. It can take as little as a month to process the paperwork for an American marrying an American in Italy.

If an American marries an Italian, Henderson said, it will take more time. If they’re marrying someone who is neither Italian nor American, it will take even longer.

Once the paperwork is complete, or at least on its way to be completed, the prospective husband and wife also should discuss future financial plans.

In Italy, Hatfield said, many married couples live with parents until they have enough money to pay for their own home. Not all Americans might relish the idea of living with their in-laws, no matter how much money they save, so they had better come to an agreement on living arrangements before the wedding day.

For those who will probably transfer from an overseas duty station to one back in the States, or even in another country, they also should know whether their foreign spouse will want to follow them.

If the spouse does move, there may be other financial considerations. Will that person have to leave a job, meaning the couple will lose part of their income?

And once they get somewhere else, will that foreign-born spouse even be employable?

“Do they have enough English language skills to find a job?” Hatfield said.

“If their language skills aren’t there, they might find they’ll have more bills from sending him or her to school.”


Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up