19 May 2014
When is a Marriage Not Legally Binding?
Pop songstress Foxes is reported as being uncertain of her marital status following a drunken ceremony at Glastonbury, in an interview with Metro magazine.
She recalls hazy memories of a marriage ceremony in the after-party at Shangri-La, but has no idea where her festival “hubby” could be, revealing that they lost touch. She is reported as expressing her hope that the ceremony wasn’t legally binding.
It’s highly unlikely that Foxes has cause for concern, as there are various requirements for a marriage ceremony to constitute a legally binding marriage, including giving notice and the ceremony having to be performed by someone authorised and licensed to perform legally binding marriage ceremonies.
Whilst that may come as a big relief to Foxes (and her missing hubs), it can of course be a very unpleasant surprise for people who had every intention of entering into a binding marriage.
It's vital for couples getting married, especially in unusual locations, or abroad to check all of the legal requirements and ensure they are met, as missing any, even ones which may on the face of it seem trivial, can mean the marriage is not valid. This in turn can have other significant consequences for things such as inheritance or your finances on separation after a split.
In addition, as crazy as it may sound, Foxes isn’t the only person to have misplaced a potential spouse, many Divorce Lawyers will have seen clients who want to get a divorce having separated many years previously and then lost touch, sometimes following international relocations. Such cases are, understandably, significantly more complex than a usual divorce case, but it's not always the case that nothing can be done.
Hopefully this means Foxes has time to consider a pre-nuptial agreement before she ties the knot for real, and can safeguard her all-important first Grammy from future claims.
Cara Nuttall is a Family & Divorce Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Manchester.
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