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How do I know if my marriage is valid?

scottsdale family law attorneys

How do I know if my marriage is valid?

  1. Are there requirements that must be met for my marriage to be valid?

Absolutely. Arizona has a set of requirements that must be met for a marriage to be valid. Also, there are certain restrictions on who can marry and what marriages will be recognized.

  1. What are the requirements for a marriage to be valid?

The marriage must include a ceremony in one form or another. Additionally, for a marriage to be valid in Arizona, a license must be provided. The marriage must be solemnized by a person authorized by law to do so. The solemnization must occur before the marriage license expires.

  1. Who can solemnize my marriage?

There are multiple people who are capable of solemnizing your marriage. The list includes licensed or ordained clergymen, judges, and justices of the peace. The judges are not limited to one division of the court either. Even judges of bankruptcy court can solemnize your marriage.  

  1. What is a void marriage?

A void marriage is when the marriage was never legal to begin with. It will never be recognized as a marriage.

  1. What types of marriages are void?

According to A.R.S. 25-101, there are multiple types of marriages that are void and prohibited. Most of them include marriages within the family. Specifically, a marriage between a parent and child, grandparents and grandchildren, brothers and sisters, uncles and nieces, aunts and nephews, and first cousins are prohibited. First cousins may only marry if at least one of the cousins is older than 65 and they cannot reproduce.

  1. If the court does not catch my void marriage, and issues a license, what are the options when we want to divorce?

If it was a void marriage, it is likely the court will grant an annulment in your situation. This means the court would legally state that your marriage was never valid to begin with.  

  1. What if I am under 18? Can I get married?

Yes. There are certain exceptions that allow a minor to marry. If you are 17 years old you will need consent of your parent or guardian. If you are 16 years old or younger, you will need to have consent of your parent or guardian and get approval from a superior court judge. Also, if you are under 16 you will have to complete premarital counseling.

  1. If I get married outside of Arizona, will my marriage be recognized in Arizona?

For the most part, yes. If your marriage was valid by the laws of the place where married, then it will be valid in Arizona. However, keep in mind that the void types of marriages will still be void in Arizona, even if legal in another state.

  1. What counts as a marriage “ceremony?”

Both you and your partner attend the ceremony. The ceremony must be conducted in the presence of someone who can solemnize marriages. There also must be at least two witnesses over 18 years old present. Both you and your partner must sign the marriage license, along with the witnesses and the person solemnizing the marriage.

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