Oct 17, 2009, 7:29 PM
Post #34 of 39
If the purpose of the exercise is to marry your intended spouse, it can really be done anywhere and be recognized by nearly any other government- you could be wed in Guatemala or Peru, for that matter.
It is a Civil ceremony, meaning that it has legal force.
In many areas, a Church wedding automatically has legal force; in others, the priest/pastor/minister must have authorization from the State to conduct the ceremony on behalf of the State. I cannot quote the Mexican law here. I do not know it.
In Alaska, anyone can marry any two people, provided the requisite number of witnesses are present. The reference is here:
Marriage Commissioner Appointments are issued through the Alaska Court System. Under Alaska Statute 25.05.261(a)(2), anyone can perform a marriage ceremony, including a friend or relative, if they first obtain a marriage commissioner appointment from an Alaskan court as authorized by AS 25.05.081. The person should be 18 years of age or older, and does not need to be a resident of Alaska or the United States in order to perform the ceremony. Below is the Alaska Court System Web site for Marriage Commissioner appointments:
Option One: Theoretically, an American friend could travel to Alaska, obtain the commission, travel to Mexico, perform the civil ceremony before yourselves and two witnesses, the friend lies, everybody swears to it, and then travels back to Alaska to file the requisite paperwork... you are thus 'legally' married in a State of the Union.
Option Two is you do so on a ship in Alaska waters, without actually entering in to the United States through Immigration. Alaska and Canada share an inland waterway and you could get married on a ferry between islands, for example.
Option Three is to get married inside the US Consulate or Embassy by the ranking diplomat. You would be married in a Federal (not State) jurisdiction and would have to deal with Federal stuff, not State stuff exclusively.
Option Four is to be married by the Captain of a US-flagged ocean-going vessel on the High Seas. Cruise ship weddings are not unheard of these days... just different.
Now, I'm not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. I recommend you find a qualified legal advisor for definitive answers to your questions, if such people do, in fact, exist outside my fantasies.
just recall Alaska being pretty airy-fairy when it came to the letter of the law, or anything else. Legal system continues to be pretty Wild West. More info here: http://www.usmarriagelaws.com/search/united_states/alaska/index.shtml [however, the bit on their page on "Officiants" is pretty funny. Charging big fees just to be the stooge for the State (and then keeping all the cash!) is typically Alaskan. Anyone can be an Officiant.]
Many people conduct a civil marriage ceremony for the legal benefits and do the church ceremony later. There is no limit to the number of times you can get married to the same person and I know of no jurisdiction which requires that you divorce them before you remarry. People get remarried all the time... sometimes in every country they visit. Most places only want you to prove one time that you are married; usually as a result of wanting some benefit as a result of being married. Unwed people have far more advantages under the US legal system than married couples, especially tax-wise.
Now, I'm not a tax advisor and this should not be construed as tax, legal or other advice. Please find a qualified person to answer your tax questions, if such people do, in fact, exist.
So long as your marriage documents are certified and Apostilled by the appropriate jurisdiction, you should be fine. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) has absolutely no jurisdiction over marriages, which are under the jurisdiction of the individual States. It doesn't matter where you are married, so long as all of the paperwork is legit. Marrying in another country (outside the US) simply adds more paperwork should you want to return to the US to live/work in the future. It is not impossible, however.
(Now I should get back to my cookies!)
(This post was edited by homeless_vagabond on Oct 17, 2009, 7:34 PM)