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Case illustrates the importance of abiding by marriage license laws

A marriage license is an official document that a couple must obtain in order for a marriage to be legally recognized. Rules and requirements with regard to how a couple who plans to marry must go about obtaining a marriage license and fulfilling its terms vary state to state and procedures and fees may even vary by county.

For example, in Hennepin County a couple who intends to marry must obtain a marriage license five or more days prior to a wedding date. Upon being issued, a marriage license is valid for use within a six-month timeframe. So what happens if a couple fails to follow the requirements set forth in a state’s marriage license statute?

Michael Mandelbaum, who is the son of Minnesota Vikings part-owner David Mandelbaum, recently took action to dispute that he and his wife of 21 years were ever technically and legally married.

According to Mandelbaum, the couple was married in the state of New Jersey 16 days prior to their marriage license being issued. Much like Minnesota marriage license laws, New Jersey requires that a couple who plans to marry obtain a marriage license prior to a formal ceremony being completed. In this case, a rabbi married the couple prior to such a legal document being issued.

While Mandelbaum contends he is "committed to resolving the dispute in a fair and appropriate manner," his attorney will likely argue that his client should not be subject to traditional divorce laws including those related to the division of property and assets.

In response to her husband's assertions, Debra Mandelbaum provided the court with numerous documents including IRS tax filings, wedding anniversary cards and other legal documents that she asserts prove that both she and Michael Mandelbaum believed and acted as though they were indeed husband and wife.

While the outcome of this case is yet to be determined, Michael Mandelbaum contends his wife was aware of the fact that the two were not technically married and yet failed to take action to rectify the situation. It's possible, therefore, that Debra Mandelbaum may end up losing out on obtaining a sizable portion of her husband's estimated $6.6 million dollar fortune.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Son of Minnesota Vikings Part-Owner Says He Wasn't Legally Married to His Wife," Yoni Bashan, Sept. 18, 2014

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