Can I conduct a marriage ceremony for someone who has not finished the divorce process yet?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I conduct a marriage ceremony for someone who has not finished the divorce process yet?

My friends asked me to officiate their upcoming wedding, but the groom is
currently in the divorce process and has a court date set for a few days after
the wedding to finalize the divorce. They want to go ahead and conduct the
ceremony, since they would lose a lot of money if they postpone or cancel,
and simply not sign the marriage documents or finalize it until after his
divorce is complete. Are there legal ramifications to them or me for doing it
this way?

Asked on April 1, 2016 under Family Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Anyone may have a purely religous or symbolic ceremony at any time--to redo vows; to show committment to someone they are not actually legally marrying at that moment; etc. You can't do anything to legally validate the marriage, and they will have to do that after the divorce is final, but there is no legal reason to not hold the ceremony, if that's what they want.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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