Interstate Marriage Recognition

There’s an old saying that goes something like: “whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” referring to the sorts of embarrassing and scandalous conduct that is so often associated with the city of Las Vegas, Nevada. However, one of the other things that’s commonly associated with Las Vegas is its cottage marriage industry, where people can (and often do) go to elope with little fanfare or forewarning. And, unfortunately for some people, Nevada marriage licenses do not simply stay in Vegas.

There are two kinds of laws governing what kinds of marriage are recognized. The first are so-called “celebration laws,” which determine what kinds of marriage will be recognized in the state where the marriage takes place; the second are “recognition laws,” which determine what kinds of marriage from out-of-state that a state will recognize as legitimate. While every state has laws about what it will not allow to be celebrated within its borders (bans on polygamy and incest are common, for example), every state will usually recognize a marriage that was legal in the state where it was celebrated. This is due to the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution, which states that every state must respect the “public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state.”

Thus, if you happen to get married during a trip to Las Vegas, or anywhere else for that matter, it’s still valid, so long as it was a legal marriage wherever it was conducted. Depending on how long it’s been since the ceremony, and the exact conditions under which you were married, you might still be able to get the marriage annulled; in other words, you can have the marriage retroactively declared null and void.

If you find yourself looking for a divorce or annulment, whether it has to do with a trip to Las Vegas or not, you should seek out an experienced matrimonial attorney to guide you through the process. The attorneys at the Marnell Law Group have the knowledge and experience you need to help you achieve the best outcome for you. Give us a call at (516) 542-9000 or send us a message on our contact page to schedule an appointment.