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Trying to divorce, some in Florida find they were never married

In today's world, few people remain in the state of their birth. In fact, relocating for work, school or personal pursuits is incredibly common. For those in Florida who are married, it is important to understand that the validity of that marriage depends on whether state guidelines for marriage were followed. If not, a marriage can be declared void by a court of law, leaving the parties with none of the protections afforded couples who divorce. 

For example, some couples choose to have a friend or family member officiate their union. Getting the authorization to serve as a minister for that purpose is very easy. One organization by the name of Universal Life Church offers the opportunity to become a minister through an online process, with no training or demonstration of skill. 

Some states do not recognize the authority of "online" ministers to perform marriages. In fact, some specifically address the matter. That can create a problem if a couple files for divorce. If the couple moved from a state where such a marriage is legal to one where it is not, things can become even more complicated. 

The best way to protect against an unfavorable outcome is to check the laws concerning the authorization to marry prior to walking down the aisle. Otherwise, for those in Florida who are planning to divorce and want to challenge the validity of the marriage, a strong legal case can be made. Defending a marriage performed by an unauthorized party can be difficult, and has a very uncertain outcome. 

Source: kiiitv.com, "Are you sure you're really married? Take a look at who married you", Ron Maxey, March 13, 2018

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