Many states have waiting period between application and issuance date.
Few states require blood tests
Then marriage must be “solemnized”
Can be done by religious representative or civil official
Common Law Marriage
Recognized in about ¼ of states
Does not technically meet marriage requirement
No license, no solemnization, etc.
Considered as implied agreement to be married.
When this becomes issue?
Death benefits, taxes, etc.
Validity of Foreign Marriages
Foreign – different state OR different country
Between the States – Full Faith and Credit Clause
Between State and Foreign Country
Generally conflict of law, private law question
States generally do not have statutes directly on point
Gay Marriage and the recognition of “foreign” marriages
Foreign Marriage Statute
Under Common Law
“by marriage, the husband and wife are one person in the law; that is, the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband.”
Blackstone, Commentaries of the Laws of England (1765-1769)
Married Women Property Act
Rules developed by equity courts in England started creating exceptions to common law.
By 1900, England and all states passed laws permitting woman to have and control separate property.
Eventually these laws provided full rights and responsibilities to married women.
Common Law Separate Property Approach Upon Divorce
Followed in vast majority of states
Allows for “separate” property to be kept
MWPA laws plus “equitable distribution” of property upon divorce.
Requires equal distribution of property upon divorce
Similar to laws in civil law system
Used in only a minority of states
All property acquired during marriage becomes marital property with spouses being joint owners.
Equitable distribution upon divorce
Contract setting forth property rights upon marriage.
Sometimes called “prenuptial” or “antenuptial”
Traditional use = death.
Modern use = divorce.
The Case of Anna Nicole Smith
Anna Nicole Smith
Age 26, former Playboy Playmate.
J. Howard Marshall
Marriage ends 14 months later upon his death.
Both parents have a legal duty to financially support their children.
All Assets and Debts are joint property unless otherwise noted.
Property brought into a marriage – differs from state to state.
Surviving spouse is legally entitled to portion of state upon death of spouse.
Impacts particularly how business receipts are taxed.
What about the marriage penalty?
Estate Planning Benefits
Estate tax exemption
Spouse entitled to receive benefits
Insurance via spouse's employer, Leave (family, bereavement, Pension
Visitation, making medical decisions
Autopsies, burial decisions
Alimony, child support, etc.
Renewal of lease signed by spouse, living in “family only” neighborhoods.
Other legal protections
Immigration, marital privilege, crime victim's recovery benefits, etc.
Same-Sex Marriage & Rights
States Allowing for Same-gender Marriage
MA, CT (Hawaii for a few years, CA for a few months)
States Allowing for Domestic Partnerships
VT, NJ, NH, (full rights)
ME, HI, DC, OR, WA (limited rights)
These marriages/unions will not be recognized by Federal government or other states.