Family Law

Till Challenge Do Us Part

Posted Aug 6, 2007 9:16 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A walk down the aisle may not result in a legal marriage, if a couple hired a minister ordained online.

About a half dozen states do not recognize marriages performed by ministers who were ordained just to marry people, the New York Times reports.

Such marriages may be considered valid until challenged. If a challenge is successful, a couple could face problems obtaining a divorce, getting the IRS to recognize joint tax returns and inheriting money.

Chicago lawyer Daniel Morales thought he had married Gwendolyn Baxter, a law student, in a Connecticut ceremony two years ago performed by a friend ordained online by the Universal Life Church.

“If two lawyers can be duped into getting married illegally,” Morales told the Times, “then anybody can.”

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