This is a partial transcript of The Big Story With John Gibson, Jan. 5, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
JOHN GIBSON: Britney Spears (search) is certainly not the first celebrity to get married in Vegas on a whim and then regret it.
So what are the rules, the legal rules for getting hitched in Sin City? FOX News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano (search) can tell us all about Las Vegas marriages.
First of all, can you really go to Clark County's marriage license bureau at, like, 3 a.m. in the morning and get a license?
JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FNC SENIOR JUDICIAL ANALYST: Apparently you can.
GIBSON: That blew my mind.
NAPOLITANO: It blew my mind, as well. Apparently, this is the only place on the planet with a marriage license bureau, which is a function of the state government, that is open 24/7. You get the marriage license, and you're hitched a couple of minutes later.
GIBSON: All right. Now...
NAPOLITANO: Where else can you get married at 5:30?
GIBSON: Even if this was a goof, they were married. There's the signatures there. And she makes a lot of money.
NAPOLITANO: She does.
GIBSON: And he probably doesn't make much at all.
NAPOLITANO: Last year, she is reported to have earned $40 million.
GIBSON: Which is?
NAPOLITANO: About $110,000 a day.
GIBSON: A day.
NAPOLITANO: Now Nevada has community property laws, which means he is entitled — He doesn't automatically own it, he has to seek it — He is entitled to one half of whatever she earned while they were married.
They were married for two days; she earned $200,000. He can walk away with a cool $100,000 for the weekend. But you know what?
GIBSON: She'll never marry him again if he does that.
NAPOLITANO: He would have had to have sought it before 10 this morning...
GIBSON: Oh, really?
NAPOLITANO: ... which is when they got the annulment. Part of the annulment papers said, “There was no financial dispute between us. Neither of us seeks anything from the other.”
Interestingly, she filed for the annulment under a clause that allows you to get your marriage annulled for only one of two reasons: either insanity or you didn't know what you were doing. She pleaded she didn't know what she was doing, whether it was exuberance, eroticism, drugs, booze, whatever.
She signed a document saying, "I was there, but I didn't know what I was doing."
GIBSON: So you can get arrested for public intoxication, walking down the street drunk in Vegas, but you can be allowed to be married while intoxicated... not knowing what you're doing?
NAPOLITANO: Well, you know, that's the interesting thing, to get serious about this for a minute. Marriage, of course, is a contract sanctioned by the state. The person who performs the marriage is an agent of the state.
You can't sign a will, sign a contract, sign a legally binding document when you're drunk. But you can get married in Las Vegas when you're drunk, and the state will OK it.
GIBSON: Now what happens to her as a once-upon-a-time married woman? Will she have a problem getting married, let's say, in the church in the future?
NAPOLITANO: No, because she got an annulment. An annulment lets you say, “I was never married. It was void from the beginning. It never happened.”
If she got a divorce, then she'd have a problem, and he'd have an opportunity for some of that cash.
GIBSON: So, do you guess that what was going on here was that her parents and her lawyers were just having a cow when they heard this, and that's why all this went into play so quickly?
NAPOLITANO: More likely her manager and her agent.
GIBSON: Judge Andrew Napolitano, thanks very much.
NAPOLITANO: You're welcome, John.
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