Can the state be held liable for issuing a marriage license to someone already married?

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Can the state be held liable for issuing a marriage license to someone already married?

My husband recently passed away and after his
death I found out that he was still married to his
second wife at the time of our marriage. Since his
marriage to his precut wife as well as to me was in
the same county how could the state have issued the
license? This has been very upsetting to me and I
think the state of NC as well as my late husband is
responsible for this mess.

Asked on January 15, 2017 under Family Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The state does not check records to make sure that people are not already married; that is the responsibility of the persons getting married, not of the government. As such, the state has no liability for presiding over a marriage when one or more of the participants are concurrently married.


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