If I receive Alimony and can’t legally get married without losing benefits, what are my options?

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If I receive Alimony and can’t legally get married without losing benefits, what are my options?

My divorce decree states I cannot remarry. I would like to have a non-legal ceremony for a dying parent. What are my options?

Asked on February 8, 2017 under Family Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

A non-legal ceremony (e.g. a purely religious ceremony not done to create a legally recognized marriage, or a "commitment" ceremony, and when there is no marriage license) is not marriage: it will not violate a stricture on not remarrying, since it does not confer any of the rights or obligations of marriage. Having such a ceremony does not change your status: you'll still be single. If the divorce decree states that if you live with or are supported by another, you will lose alimony (some decrees do), you could have trouble on that basis due to your financial or living arrangments, but that has nothing to do with the ceremony itself.
Note that your state does not recognize "common law marriages." If, however, you move to a state which does, then if you hold yourself out as husband and wife or spouses, you could end up creating a marriage in that way without a license or legally binding ceremony, so be careful of where you move, if this is an issue.


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