Before a couple can be legally married in the United States, they must apply for a marriage license at the county courthouse and meet certain requirements. These requirements can vary by state to state, but if one of these is not met, it could provide a loophole that makes divorce easy--because you were never legally married!
You Have To Be Of Age
In many U.S. states, 18 is the age at which you are considered an adult, and the age you must be to apply for a marriage license. You can get married younger than 18, but only with permission of a parent or guardian. However, age requirements can vary by state.
If either couple lies about their age, or has fraudulent documents for proof of age, the two are not legally married. If this is true in your case, you either have to remarry of go your separate ways.
You Can't Marry Relatives
Which people in your life count as relatives can vary by state, but you can't marry someone with whom you are related. This can include your parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, brother or sister. In some states, you cannot marry your step parent, step child, or your first cousin. In Virginia, for example, you cannot marry people you are related too by adoption.
If you discover you've married your relative, you are not legally married. Whether you did not know for some reason, or someone lied to get married, it doesn't matter, you are not married in the eyes of the law.
You Can't Have Multiple Spouses
Some religions recognize multiple marriages, and people who follow that religion may have more than one spouse. While the religious community may accept this arrangement, the law does not. So, if you're already married, and you choose another spouse, you are only legally married to your fist partner.
In most states, married multiple persons is bigamy, which is a crime. If you marry someone and find that he or she has another spouse, then you were never legally married.
Your Health Matters
Health requirements can vary by state, but you should be aware of some possible heath requirements before applying for a marriage license.
If you fail to comply with any health requirements set forth by your state, you cannot receive a marriage license. In some states, if you have a venereal disease, you can still get your license as long as both partners are aware of each other's test results.
You Must Understand The Significance of Marriage
Most people understand the significance of marriage, but if a person is mentally ill, abuses drugs or alcohol, or is otherwise mentally incapacitated, they cannot receive a marriage license. If you can prove later that this was the case at the time you applied for a license, it can mean your marriage is not legally binding.
If you are married, any of these loopholes can make your marriage null and void. However, there may be an exception if your state recognizes common law marriage. This means that after a certain number of years of cohabitation, you and your partner are seen as legally joined.
Anyone wanting a divorce would probably love to fall back on one of these loopholes, but these are not common among most marriages. This is why family lawyers like Nancy Bunting are there to help couples through the divorce process.
Hello, I'm Christina Miller. Have you ever been fascinated with why the law works the way it does? Ever since I was in junior high, I had an intense interest in anything related to our legal system, whether it be a crime drama on television, a judge show or a legal case covered on the news. I followed it all. As time progressed, I began learning about how the actual legal system worked and not just the fictionalized version of our legal system. This has lead me to start writing my own blog posts about law that I hope will help others.