What to doabout a marriage by proxy?

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What to doabout a marriage by proxy?

I was in the military in 1991 and stationed in Guam. I had a girlfriend and we got married by proxy in ND. Here is how we did it. She went and got the marriage certificate signed it, mailed it to me, I signed it and sent it back. I got a power of attorney for a friend of mine in ND and had a witness in Guam. She called over the phone with the preacher, my witness and her witness. Did the ceremony and the friend I had POA for signed the license as a witness and that was it. Would this be legal as ND doesn’t show by proxy or common law marriage as legal?

Asked on March 14, 2011 under Family Law, Utah

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You are correct on the issue.  As far as I can tell North Dakota requires that both parties be actually present when getting married.  Only a few states in the Union recognize marriage by proxy and other states only recognize a valid marriage by proxy as a common law marriage for validity in their state.  So really your marriage appeared to have been void from the beginning, so that would mean that you and your "spouse" have no legal ties to each other as husband and wife.  However, if you and she traveled to a state that does recognize common law marriage and held yourselves out as husband and wife while you were married then North Dakota may recognize that marriage as legal under Full Faith and Credit law.  Seek legal help here in your state. 


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