13 Wacky Marriage Laws You Might Be Breaking

Laws, whether they are relevant today or not, served a purpose at one point in time in our country. For instance, at one point it was perfectly necessary for Colorado to establish a law that expressly prohibited anyone under the age of 16 from playing pinball after 11 pm. When Texas created a law barring “obnoxious odors from being emitted in elevators,” they probably had good reason to do so. As funny and wacky as old laws are now, it would be ridiculous if someone was actually arrested today for something as innocent as playing pinball or stinking up an elevator. Yet, several states have yet to revise their law books, making many crazy old laws still enforceable.

The New Year is about commemorating the old and welcoming in the new, so our team at the Law Offices of Stephen Clark thought that it might be a good time to reminisce on 13 outdated marriage laws that may be wacky, but that are still enforceable today.

13 Outdated Marriage Laws You are Most Likely Breaking

  • In Delaware, you can take back a marriage done on a dare. If you were married on a dare in Delaware, state law allows you to seek an annulment rather than a divorce.
  • Up until last year, it was illegal to propose to a woman just to seduce her in South Carolina. If a woman is saving herself for marriage, and if a man proposes just to consummate the marriage, he is guilty of a misdemeanor under South Carolina’s Offenses Against Morality and Decency Act.
  • It is illegal for a married couple to sleep nude in a rented room in Massachusetts. This law only applies to the town of Salem, however, the home of the Salem witch trials.
  • A wife must seek permission from her husband before wearing false teeth in Vermont. If a woman wants to wear dentures, whether for comfort, aesthetic reasons or both, she must gain written permission from her husband first.
  • Do not be rude to your mother in law. In Wichita, Kansas, a husband may seek a fault divorce from a wife who is rude to his mother.
  • A man must prove his worth before marriage in Cape Cod. In the town of Truro, a man must hunt and kill either six blackbirds or three crows before obtaining permission to marry.
  • You must sober up before saying “I do” in Tennessee or Mississippi. If a county clerk in either of these states believes you or your spouse to be drunk, insane, or an “imbecile,” they may deny you a marriage license.
  • In Kentucky, it is illegal for a woman to marry the same man four times. If you and your spouse plan on getting divorced for a third time, you better make sure it is your last, as you will not be permitted to marry again.
  • Kissing cousins are allowed to marry. In Utah, first cousins are allowed to marry one another, but only if they are over the age of 65.
  • Psychics cannot officiate in New Orleans. If you were headed on down to the Mardi Gras state to get married via a psychic, think twice; it is illegal for a palm reader or psychic to officiate a wedding in Louisiana.
  • Children were legally allowed to get married in Arkansas. For a brief period between 2007 and 2008, it was legal for children under the age of 18 to wed.
  • In some states, you do not have to be present at your own wedding. To facilitate the marriage between a citizen and a service member, the states of California, Texas, Colorado, and Montana allow “marriage by proxy,” which means that someone may stand in for either the bride, groom, or both.
  • No kissing on Sundays. In Connecticut, it is illegal for you to smooch your spouse on Sundays, as that is the Lord’s day.

Marriage has come a long ways since the days that these laws were created. However, marriage continues to be rife with laws and niceties regulating each party’s behavior during a marriage and while a divorce is pending. Though today’s rules and regulations are not nearly as direct as the old laws, they are just as sacred, and it is important that you adhere to state laws if you hope to achieve a beneficial outcome to your divorce.

At the Clark Law Group, we help our clients navigate the intricacies of the divorce process, and make sure that they are in compliance with every law – no matter how mundane or archaic it may seem. To work with a compassionate and knowledgeable Dallas family lawyer who will guide you through your divorce, call (469) 906-2266, or schedule a private consultation online.

(image courtesy of Ben Rosette)

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