(Closed) what makes a marriage legally binding?

posted 8 years ago in Legal
Post # 3
Member
732 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

I’ve been wondering this too! For mer, personally, it will be when our officiant says we are married. In my opinion, I would rather have my marriage be more spiritual than lawful

Post # 4
Member
1148 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2011

I believe the person that “binds” you has to have “the power vested in [them] by the state of…” because they have to be ordained in some way.

Post # 5
Member
3709 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

The license has to be applied for and received. It then has to be signed by the officiant and two witnesses and filed with the county the ceremony took place within an allotted time. The county will then issue you a marriage certificate which is what signifies that you are legally married.

Post # 7
Member
2196 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: January 2013

But no particular words are legally binding devoid of a written contract, right?  Because Fiance and I are sort of in the opposite situation: due to health insurance reasons, we CAN’T have a legally-binding wedding.

Post # 8
Member
1585 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I’m in California so I think that it could be different in other states…

I have to apply for a marriage license before my wedding

Then the officiant has to sign the marriage certificate (us too)

And then the officiant sends the signed certificate into the county’s office.  

Once the certificate is processed then the county sends you an official marriage license.

 

Again I could be completely wrong… but I believe that this is how it works.

 

Post # 9
Member
3709 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

@daydream…yes…although I have been to weddings where there has been a co-officiant who does some of the ceremony. However, I am pretty sure that the “official” vows…”Do you take so and so” have to actually be done by the officiant who signs the marriage license.

Post # 10
Member
5399 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@daydreamwanderer: My thinking is, your state wouldn’t really have a way of knowing that your dad didn’t perfrom the ceremony, even if he’s the one who signed your marriage certificate.  He will technically witness the whole thing, so I think you could somehow make it work. 

Post # 11
Member
2186 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

@daydream -i asked my dad about this (hes a minister) and the ordained person can be the one who signs the license, and he has to be present to oversee the entire thing, but technically its ok if he doesnt actually say the words. theres paperwork involved though, so check with your individual state for what is allowed (this is for Virginia).

Post # 12
Member
348 posts
Helper bee

You really should just call up your county clerk and ask.  It varies state to state; in some states, at least, you need to verbally affirm certain things, such as that you are entering into the marriage freely.  It’s true that it’s very unlikely to ever be called into question, but just in case, you want to make sure it’s legit (one scenario where stuff like this happens is in inheritance cases, where someone else might have a financial stake in proving you were not ‘really’ married – unlikely but not impossible.  I see it in my research.)

ETA: this website suggests that the requirements for Michigan are that “The parties merely solemnly declare that they take each other as husband and wife before at least two witnesses and the person officiating.”

http://courts.co.calhoun.mi.us/book012.htm#Solemnization%20Authority:

But I am not a lawyer, so don’t take this as legal advice!

Post # 14
Member
1075 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I can’t remember what states they are, but in some places, just living with each other for (x) amount of years considers you legally married.  Weird,huh?

Post # 15
Member
1148 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2011

@wendy it’s called “common law” marriages. The idea is that you have enough time invested into the relationship that it’s as though you are married. It usually is only considered when separating and you don’t normally receive benefits as if you were married from the companies you work for.

Post # 16
Member
1385 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

@veganglam Nope without the contract it’s not a legal-marriage just a religious one. Although in some states the law is written so that it’s illegal to perform a non-legal marriage. But my best friend who has Muscular Dystrophy couldn’t “legally” marry her husband due to her insurance (she would lose all her state coverage)- so they had a religious ceremony.

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