Wife Burned Marriage License Day Before Wedding; Court Rules There Was No Legal Marriage

Chris Schumacher v. Theresa Martin-Schumacher (mem. dec.) 
by Mike Kohlhaas, Bingham Greenebaum Doll

Normally, we do not distribute memorandum decisions, but this is an interesting case in which the parties acquired a marriage license in 1997, but the day before the wedding ceremony, the would-be Wife destroyed the license by burning it completely. She conveyed that she had done so to her would-be Husband. The parties nevertheless proceeded with a wedding ceremony the following day, with a person otherwise qualified to solemnize marriages. No completed marriage license was returned to or filed by the county clerk.

In 2011, the parties separated, and the “Husband” filed a petition for dissolution of marriage. A dispute ensued as to whether the parties were legally married in the first place. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s declaratory judgment that there was no legal marriage. “Because Reverend Manship was not presented with the marriage license, he was without legal authority” to marry the parties.

To view the text of this opinion in its entirety, click here: Chris Schumacher v. Theresa Martin-Schumacher (mem. dec.)


James A. Reed and Michael R. Kohlhaas of Bingham Greenebaum Doll represent clients in a wide spectrum of relationship transition and wealth planning matters, including premarital agreements, estate planning, cohabitation, separation, divorce (especially involving high net worth individuals and/or complex asset issues), custody, parenting arrangements, adoption, and domestic partnerships. Bingham Greenebaum Doll, a multidisciplinary law firm serving regional, national, and international clients, is the fourth-largest law firm in Indiana. The firm’s main practices include corporate, property, litigation, labor, government law, and personal services law. Visit the firm’s website at www.bgdlegal.com.

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

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