legal marriage if drunk?

Two people get married and let’s say the brided is plowed. Is this a legal marriage? She went to the courthouse days before the ceremony and got the license sober, where they make you sign and all, but you are supposed to return the license after the ceremony.

everyone at the wedding could tell she was plowed, she couldn’t hardly stand at the alter.

oh, and what’s it called when a marriage is not legal, i forgot…

She probably could get it annuled

Wow, what a hangover that must have been.

I did what? :smiley:

In Roman Catholic Church law, being drunk at the time of the exchange of vows will guarantee an annulment. It’s the moment of ‘creating the contract’ which requires a sound mind.


And do you, Tipsy McGee take Ima Slusch to be your lawfully wedded co-dependent?

In the eyes of the law (lay law, not religious law) a contract is void if one of the parties is intoxicated upon signing it.

However, the contract isn’t the ceremony; the contract is the marriage license, so if she was sober when she signed that the marriage is valid.

I’ve heard of ministers and so on refusing to lead a marriage ceremony when the bride or groom was obviously intoxicated though.

In Minnesota:

Minnesota Statute 518.02 Voidable marriages.

A marriage shall be declared a nullity under the following


(a) A party lacked capacity to consent to the marriage at

the time the marriage was solemnized, either because of mental
incapacity or infirmity and the other party at the time the
marriage was solemnized did not know of the incapacity; or
because of the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other
incapacitating substances; or because consent of either was
obtained by force or fraud and there was no subsequent voluntary
cohabitation of the parties;

The word “shall” in Minnesota law is absolute. No grey areas. Shall means is. Double Scotch on the rocks and marriage vows are not compatible in my .10 BAC State.

Never being married, what’s the legal process? Get a license, have a ceremony, then file certified papers at the courthouse?

Basically, yes.

In New Jersey, one goes to the bride’s town hall with groom-to-be in tow. They need to bring ID (birth certificates and a person who can swear they are who they say they are) as they apply for a license to get married.

After three days processing, the couple picks up their license to get married. This license is good for 27 days (thirty days from application minus the three days processing). They can go to a justice of the peace or any minister for a marriage ceremony within that period. State law allows for ministers to act as civil officials in officiating and recognizing the marriage.

After the ceremony, the officiant (minister or civil official) and two witnesses sign the license (basically, an affidavit that the vows took place). The officiant then turns in the license to the municipal town hall of the municipality in which the ceremony took place. The town hall processes the completed license for the state. The marriage is recorded in the municipality’s records and in the state house. Once this paperwork is processed, the couple can obtain from that municipality or from the state house a certified certificate of marriage. The bride will need that certificate for name changes (if she chooses to take the groom’s last name) with the DMV and Social Security.


:smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

(I understand that typically this is supposed to happen after the wedding.)


Hell, it appears to be legal when two strangers, get plowed in a casino in Las Vegas, go to a 24 hour drive through chapel, and are joined in holy matrimony by a bad Elvis impersonator…
hmmmm…yet homosexuals still can’t marry…only in America man

Hell, it appears to be legal when two strangers, get plowed in a casino in Las Vegas, go to a 24 hour drive through chapel, and are joined in holy matrimony by a bad Elvis impersonator…
hmmmm…yet homosexuals still can’t marry…only in America man

As a family lawyer who has never had to address this particular situation:

Marriage, like contracts generally, requires legal capacity. Interestingly, the capacity required for marriage is generally figured to meet a lower standard than for other contracts; one can be too crazy or too stupid to validly buy a car and still get married.

An old generality is that the law requires compliance with licensure requirements, legal capacity for both parties, and solemnization, but that courts will be loose with these requirements, often finding that two out of three is sufficient. A rare instance of a film which deals with this issue accurately is the Alfred Hitchcock comedy Mr. and Mrs. Smith. There it is found that some technical problem existed with the procedure which was followed when Carole Landis and Robert Montgomery were married (they were on the wrong side of a county line or somesuch), but it is acknowledged that as they acted in good faith and have been living as man and wife for years, it really doesn’t matter.

If a person was so incapacitated by liquor that it wouldn’t be fair to hold them accountable for entering into the marriage, the marriage would likely be viewed as annullable, as distinct from actually being a nullity. That is, if the person acted promptly to have the marriage annulled they would likely succeed. If he or she were slow in taking action, or chose to act as though they were married for a while, the opportunity for annulment would likely be seen as having been foregone, and divorce would be the appropriate option. The court would likely hold that the party had ratified the marriage by their action or inaction.