Wedding Ceremony without Marriage License?
6 attorney answers
Your comment "we still need to decide how we handle things financially, etc." indicates that marriage must wait until that situation is resolved; a pre-marital contract might be beneficial in that regard. A "marriage license" is irrelevant to a "marriage reception". You can get married once you are both single, but in California you'll need a marriage license to make it legal.
You can do the wedding reception first, yes. However a marriage isn't valid unless you have a license. You can marry religiously, but it wouldn't be valid legally until you obtain the license. Have you given any thoughts to a pre-marital agreement?
Your question isn't as easy to answer as my colleagues seem to think. True, you can't be married under California State law without a marriage license being taken out, signed by the officiating person (who has to have the authority to perform marriages), and returned to the county clerk. On the other hand, if you're dealing with an organized church, chances are it won't recognize your "being married in front of God" if you don't have a license and the person performing the ceremony doesn't have the authority to marry people. There are also potential issues regarding holding yourselves out as married when you aren't. If you stay together, but officially unmarried, for a number of years, and then you separate, you can't get divorced. In other words, no community property and no spousal support . I think maybe you're aiming too high at the moment. Call it an engagement party.
Without knowing all of the facts, it's impossible to be sure that my answer is correct in all respects. I hope it helps you make an initial decision on how to resolve your problem. Once you make that decision, don't act on it before consulting with a local lawyer to confirm it's the best one.
Your fiancé needs to finalize his divorce before you have a wedding ceremony because in the eyes of God, you would be committing a sin, right?
You can have all of the parties you want! The concept of marriage is actually a civil contract, so you will not be legally married without a license, (which your fiancé will not be able to obtain until the divorce is final unless he wants to commit bigamy).
The religious and spiritual aspect is separate, and is a very personal, not legal thing. In my opinion the law should not get involved in the personal aspects. Enjoy your party as all who wish to make a commitment should!
You can have a party, but you cannot be validly married until the divorce is final. Not sure where God stands on the issue, but the law of man is clear.
While you wait, pay for a high quality prenup.
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