Are you legally married if your marriage license was never filed or evensigned?

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Are you legally married if your marriage license was never filed or evensigned?

My friend got married and had a wedding ceremony a few years ago, but her and her husband separated 10/09. No one signed the marriage license – not her, her husband, or the pastor who performed the ceremony. So the license was never filed and she did not change her name. They did file married on their taxes however. So we were both wondering, since they never filed a marriage license but did file married on their taxes, would they need to get a divorce?

Asked on September 13, 2010 under Family Law, Georgia

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I would seek legal counsel in your area on this matter and how to proceed.  In certain states marriage licenses expire if the marriage is not held and the license not filed.  In certain states the fact that a marriage is consummated also carries with it weight on proving that the marriage existed.  Georgia is one of those states.  Some states do not care if you change your name in this day and age.  Additionally, they held themselves out as married by filing the taxes.  There are so many factors that need to be weighed here and I would not just assume that they are not married to be able to just walk away without the formality of a divorce.  It can only come back to haunt them in the end.


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