Many Arizonans choose to have a destination wedding in places like Mexico or the Caribbean. They sometimes wonder when they get home. Additionally, many Arizonans are from somewhere else, and a good number of immigrants who married in their homelands before coming to the United States. Are those marriages legal here in Arizona?
Others may have some sort of a defect in their wedding ceremony that makes them question whether they actually were married. Maybe they find their officiant wasn’t really authorized to marry them or didn’t file the certificate. Maybe they neglected to get a wedding license. Are those marriages valid?
If you have questions about the validity of your marriage, we have some answers here, but it may be best to consult with an attorney.
International Marriages, Part I: Valid there, valid here
A.R.S. § 25-112(A) should give peace of mind to most people who married in a foreign country. The law simply says that if the marriage was legal where you got married, Arizona recognizes it as a legal marriage.
In other words, it doesn’t matter if you were married in a church in Phoenix or a beach in Jamaica. As long as your marriage was legal where it was performed, you are married under Arizona law.
There is an exception—the marriage has to be one that is legal in Arizona.
For instance, Arizona does not allow first cousins under the age of 55 to marry; some states and countries do. If first cousins in their 20s marry, Arizona will not recognize the marriage even if it was legal where it took place. There are a few other marriages that are invalid and will not be recognized in Arizona, including, most commonly, a marriage where one party was not yet divorced from their first spouse when they remarried.
International Marriages, Part II: Invalid there may be valid here.
But even if a marriage is invalid where it took place, it may be legal here if it would have otherwise complied with Arizona law. The famous case is one where an Arizona couple had a destination wedding in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
They believed their officiant was licensed to perform the ceremony—she was not. Under Mexican law, that meant the marriage was not valid. But under Arizona law, if one party has a good faith belief that the officiant is licensed to marry the parties, Arizona can recognize the marriage as valid. So in that case, the Court of Appeals instructed the judge hearing the case to determine if the wife genuinely believed the officiant could marry the couple, and if the court determined she did, the judge should consider the marriage valid in Arizona.
Out-of-State Marriages: Same rules apply as those for international marriages.
The same rules for international marriages apply to marriages performed in another state. Fewer people ask about this because most people are aware that if they married in California, they do not get divorced by simply moving to Arizona.
But, like international marriages, if a marriage is void under Arizona law, Arizona law will not recognize it. This was a big issue not too long ago with same-sex marriages that were legal in some states but not in Arizona. That changed in 2014 with the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges that legalized same-sex marriages.
The other types of void marriages (first cousin, parent-child, sibling, bigamy, underage, etc.) remain an issue, but are much more rare.
Our award-winning team of professionals deliver the outcomes our clients need.
Any issue or question I have has always been answered. I am super grateful to Jillian because I feel like I have someone by my side 100% of the time.
Throughout this entire process, everyone at the firm treated me with the courtesy and respect that you would extend a lifelong friend, and for that humble gesture I shall remain forever grateful . . .
The best at what they do! Im so impressed by the knowledge Stephen has off the top of his head. The whole crew is amazing . Would highly recommend them.
I've never met such a passionate, organized, and responsive group of attorneys. Family law matters can be emotionally and legally challenging but this group stands out as the place to go to get great help
The team that works here is professional, timely, and has your best interests at the root of every decision. They work tirelessly and have an amazing array of experience to act on your behalf...needless to say, they’d always be my choice!
Highly recommend this firm for family law disputes. The efforts that they put forth to a case are some of the best that you can get, but they also know how to really work with a client and make it feel like a team atmosphere
I know some of the lead attorneys at State 48 Law Firm, and have complete faith and trust in their knowledge and professionalism. I would trust them implicitly, with my own legal needs.
Excellent team of attorneys. Everyone has a wealth of experience and a great depth of legal knowledge. I would highly recommend this firm to anyone.
I can't recommend State 48 Law Firm enough. They have a great team of experienced attorneys, although I highly recommend Bryce Johnson! He has a wealth of family law knowledge and will fight for you.
I've known and worked with State 48 attorney Bryce Johnson for several years and know him to be a considerate and tactful attorney who fights tooth and nail for his clients. I would recommend State 48 for your family law needs!
Everyone at State 48 Law Firm is great! Jillian Hansen will take the time to educate you about the process while showing empathy for the situation.
State 48 Law includes a very experienced team of lawyers who will work tirelessly for you. I would recommend their team, and specifically Bryce Johnson, to anyone.
During one of the most difficult periods in your life, it is imperative to find a lawyer and a law firm, who can look after your interests.
I’ve worked with this Team before & can’t say enough about their professionalism & constant communication. Highly recommend State48 for anything family law.
Ankita takes her time, is very responsive, and shows that she does care. You don’t usually find that compassion in a lawyer. I can’t thank her enough for helping us through our case and I highly recommended her!