Can my religious cerimony in another country be counted as a legal marriage in America?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can my religious cerimony in another country be counted as a legal marriage in America?

I had a religious cerimony in Brazil before coming to America. in Brazil it was not considered a legal marriage because we didnt have a legal documentation. After 10 months I came to America with a fiance visa and got marriaed one week later. Now, I am divorcing and my husband is trying to prove that we were not marriaed for 10 years. We got married in December 2005, separate for one year in 2013 and came back living together in 2014 until September of 2016. Can my 10 months of waiting for my fiance visa, after the religious cerimony, can count as time of marriage?

Asked on August 7, 2017 under Family Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, it would not count as a time of marriage. A purely religious ceremony may be marriage for religious, emotional, cultural, etc. purposes, but it is not legally marriage, so you were not married until the marriage in the U.S. (assuming you did in fact get a marriage license then.) And a fiance visa is for being a "fiance"--engaged to be married, but not yet married; therefore, the time waiting for the fiance visa is not married time.

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