Does Utah Law Recognize Marriages from Other Countries?

The short answer is yes. Let’s say you are married on a tropical island in the Caribbean somewhere. You return home and want to have your marriage recognized in Utah but you are worried you may have to do something in Utah to make that happen. Well, for most people who are married out of country, they don’t have a to worry about there marriage being somehow invalidated by a Utah Court. In fact, there are only a few exceptions to the general rule that a valid marriage in any country equals a valid marriage under Utah law. Those exceptions are as follows:

  • One of the parties was not yet divorced from another living spouse at the time of the marriage. This may seem like a no brainer but in some countries you can marry multiple partners. So, if you are still married but marry an additional individual in another country that does not prohibit polygamy, your marriage would not be deemed valid under Utah law.
  • If the person you married in another country were under the age of 16, your marriage would not be valid under Utah law. Again, it might be lawful for you to marry the person in the particular country in which you married. Nonetheless, Utah does not recognize marriages to minors under the age of 16 under any circumstances.
  • If you marry an individual of the same sex in another country, for instance New Zealand recently legalized gay marriage, a Utah court would currently not recognize such a marriage. However, this may be changing very soon as the issue of gay marriage in Utah is currently making its way through the federal courts process and federal judges have recently ruled in favor of gay marriage in Utah.
  • If you are related within 3 degrees of the person you married in another country, Utah will not legally recognize your marriage. This obviously means you can’t marry family members, cousins, or anyone closely related to you.

For 99% of people getting married over seas, there is never going to be a problem with enforcing your marital rights, seeking a divorce in Utah, or otherwise feeling confident you have a legally valid marriage under Utah law. For the few that may fall under one of the exceptions stated above, you should consult with a Utah Divorce Lawyer to further investigate your marital sanding. For more information call us anytime.

About Chris Salcido

Chris Salcido is a founder and owner of St George Divorce Attorney.
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