Is my marriage legally binding in the US?


Dear Michelle:

Greetings. Wow…when I first read this post, my initial reaction was “yes, it’s valid,” but since I had no law to back that up, I had to do some research. The research sent me back to cases from the 1890s which finally gave me the information I needed. If you have a valid marriage in a foreign country, then North Carolina will look to see if the marriage was valid under the laws where you married and if it is within our laws here. So, as long as your marriage does not violate our basic laws on marriage (for example, as long as you are not a second wife in a polygamous marriage), yes, your marriage should be valid here in North Carolina. Best of luck.

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Divorce
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.


My husband (?) and I were married 3 years ago in the British West Indies (Turks and Caicos Islands). We did not file any paperwork (marriage license) in Lee County, where we have lived for the last 4 years. I did not change my name and therefore did not register anything with Social Security. Is our marriage legally binding in North Carolina?