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Would misspellings on the license invalidate the marriage?

January 2, 2017 Blog

Divorce is never easy. Even if you’re looking forward to the end of a relationship, you might still be looking for ways to avoid the dreaded “D” word. For some, grasping at straws is something of a professional past-time, a method of figuring out how to get out of the relationship without dealing with the financial complications that usually follow a divorce. One commonly held misconception is that an error in one’s marriage license is enough to void the marriage entirely. All it takes, they believe, is a single typo for the marriage to have never existed. While this might be a lovely fiction for some, the reality is quite different.

No one is perfect, and the law actually recognizes that. While the law does require you to adhere to its letter, it also understands that sometimes mistakes are unmistakable. As such, intent can play a very large role when it comes to any contract. If you think about it, voiding contracts because of typos would be absolutely devastating for the economy. There are so many minor mistakes in documents that any contract could be rendered void by a single keystroke, and then nothing would get done. Therefore, the law has protections in place to prevent just this.

If there’s an error on your wedding license, it is more likely what is called a scrivener’s error. These errors are generally considered harmless and do not impact the legality of the document itself. The court assumes that you signed your license with the intent to get married and that intent trumps any mistakes that the clerk might make. It’s entirely possible for you to get this mistake amended at a later date, but it won’t make any difference as to the status of your marriage. You are suffering from an embarrassing typo, not an invalid marriage.

It’s important to remember that you actually benefited from this leniency while you were married. You got all the legal benefits of being married even though there was a small error on your marriage license. Unfortunately, you can’t have it both ways. Because it’s assumed that the marriage will continue once the document is signed, it’s more important to the court to preserve your marriage rights rather than giving you an easy out when you no longer wish to be married. While this might be an easy straw at which to grasp, it’s not one that will bring you any legal benefits.

There are many ways that your marriage license can be invalid, but these methods have more to do with intent than mistakes. You have to prove that the error on your marriage license has something to do with the qualifications to get married, not with the typing ability of the clerk. Failure to do so is not only a good way to waste your own time, but also a good way to set yourself back on your path to ending your marriage. For most, there’s simply no hidden loophole that will help you get to the end of a marriage more easily. Your marriage license will probably be the least of your concerns once you seriously start looking into how to end your marriage.

When you get divorced, you will have to go through the same proceedings as anyone else. There’s no quick loophole that you can use. If you really feel like there was something invalid about your marriage, it’s better to consult an attorney than to consult common wisdom. Good lawyers will be able to tell you more about whether your marriage is valid and will be able to help you make decisions that can better suit your situation. Unfortunately, there may be no easy way for you to end your marriage. If you are lucky, though, you can find an attorney who can help you make the process less painful.



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