Lis and the Single Girl: Before You Say “I Do” Make Sure He Can!

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Single and fabulous? Well then this is the column for you!

Ever wish you had your own personal Carrie Bradshaw to answer your questions — not just about what to do if your boyfriend dumps you via text message — but serious issues that confront us? This special daily edition of “Lis on Law” will address topics that single women are faced with and that everybody wonders about — but no one has time to figure out.

Between work, working out, dating and maintaining a social life, it’s tough to find time to do much else. So, read up and prepare to be fully armed for brunch this weekend with your friends with some super conversation topics! Your pals will be amazed!

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Can you be legally married by a friend who becomes an ordained minister over the Internet?

Hmm that is tricky! Here’s the deal … along with today’s lavish weddings, it’s the new trend to have someone you know and love become an ordained minister and have them marry you. People often find this more personal than being married by a minister, judge or justice of the peace. While most states out there actually do recognize these marriages, some states like Connecticut don’t. While this may bring a great sense of sentiment to your special day, don’t make the mistake of substituting legality for personality. Choosing to have your marriage performed by a friend or family member who has been ordained may not be the wisest decision if you don’t do your research before you say “I do.” If you are married by someone who you later find out wasn’t legally authorized to do so the consequences may be monumental! There may be several serious legal repercussions — your ability to get relief in the event of a divorce disappears, you may lose inheritance rights or you could even have trouble with the IRS if you and your “husband” filed joint tax returns. Also, keep in mind that 39 states do NOT recognize common law marriage (when couple may be considered absent formal ceremony after satisfying several points) so that won’t be able to save you either.

The truth is that even laws that seem broadly worded may turn out to be interpreted to disallow marriages performed by ordained ministers. The best advice to couples who want to pursue this route on their way to marital bliss would be to go to city hall and do it again to ensure that you are legally married though.


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* Disclaimer

The information contained in this Web site feature entitled “LIS ON LAW,” is provided as a service to visitors of, and does not constitute legal advice or establish an attorney client relationship. FOX NEWS NETWORK, LLC makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this web site feature and its associated sites. Nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of your own counsel.

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Lis Wiehl joined FOX News Channel as a legal analyst in October 2001. She is currently a professor of law at the New York Law School. Wiehl received her undergraduate degree from Barnard College in 1983 and received her Master of Arts in Literature from the University of Queensland in 1985. In addition, she earned her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1987. Lis is also the author of The 51% Minority — How Women Still Are Not Equal and What You Can Do About It. (Watch the Video) To read the rest of Lis's bio, click here.