Asked in Divorce and Family Law for Virginia

Q: Is it necessary to file for Divorce in VA if Marriage Certificate was not filed with court within 30 days of ceremony?

My fiance and I obtained a Marriage License from a VA Court Clerks office and held a marriage ceremony in the presence of 150 guests (within 60 days time of obtaining the license) in Virginia. However, the marriage certificate was never filed by the officiant after the ceremony. If the Marriage Certificate is not filed within 30 days of Marriage Ceremony with VA Court, is the marriage void? More specifically, are my partner and I married under the laws of Virginia and do we need to officially file Divorce paperwork? We are separated and I am uncertain if we need to file for divorce since the certificate was never filed/recorded. Any advice is appreciated to prevent any hassle down the road. Do we need to get a divorce? Were we ever legally married?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James H. Wilson Jr.
James H. Wilson Jr.
  • Glen Allen, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: Virginia's public policy favors marriage and the validity of marriage in the Commonwealth. As such, Virginia has several curative statutes that may validate imperfect marriages. In addition, a party who questions the validity of a marriage may file a suit to determine the validity of the marriage or affirm the marriage under Virginia Code Section 20-90. Any putative spouse questioning the validity of a marriage should consult with an experienced Virginia matrimonial lawyer to discuss how Virginia law might apply to the specifics of his or her situation.

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