The Barefoot Photographer®

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Happy Anniversary to Us

photo by Bill Buttram Photography

Today is my wedding anniversary. My husband and I have been married twenty-six years today. There has only been one problem during that time. No, not a problem between us -- but it was a problem with our marriage. You see, we were not legally married for about the first 15 years.

My family is into genealogy. We have copies of old birth, death, and marriage records. When I was living in California, my mother once asked me did I have a copy of my marriage record to go along with those I had of other family members. I told her no and she offered to pick one up for me the next time she was at the court house or she would ask my uncle to do it since he stopped in looking up records there also. A few days later she called me only to say that there was no record of my marriage on file at the court house.

I needed to make some phone calls...

When my husband(?) came home from work that day I told him about it. I really thought it was funny -- and I was laughing. He said he did not see anything funny about it. Then he said, "Don't tell my mother."

I called the clerk of the court back home the next day to find out what we needed to do to straighten this out. I mean, really, we had quite a few witnesses -- it did happen. I have pictures -- see above! This is the interior of that little church from a Friday post. It is that small -- that is the back wall in this photo.

The first remedy offered to me was to hire a lawyer, get a court date, file papers, and ask a judge to make a ruling that the wedding did take place on the date we said. I am thinking this could be a big mess. Would we have to fly home for court dates? It would be hard for us to handle all the way across the country. So I tell the clerk that we are not far from Vegas -- we will just go there to take care of the formality of it. But then I am told we really need to go back to the original date to make things right.

Another option is presented to me. I can find the minister and have him fill out some forms to get it on the record as it should have been. The only problem is finding the minister. The guy who married us had a habit of changing locations. He was the principal at my elementary school, had managed a hotel in the islands, and was a guidance counselor at my high school -- and was a minister. But he was not living in the home town at the moment. I had to find him.

I called a friend of mine who was also married by him a few years later. She knew where he was! It took a couple phone calls to get someone at their house. I explained the problem, got the mailing address and we were in business! Recently I caught up with her on Facebook and I am thinking she also had this problem with him not filing the paperwork like he was supposed to.

Funny thing -- after the form was returned, signed and completed by the minister; the court house got the initial record wrong. They had my husband's birthdate off by 20 years! It looked like I had married an 8 year old. My mother had to take it back to have them correct their error. Now I have a copy of my records -- with all of the dates correct as they actually occurred.

What was discovered in late winter was finally resolved very close to our 15th anniversary that August. So today we have been married for 26 years and legal for 11; I guess.


1 comment:

Vagabonde said...

First of all congratulation. What an interesting story – it must have been quite frustrating. This could not have happened in my country of origin because in France we have what we call “separation of church and state.” Because of hundreds of years of the church being so powerful and horrible to the regular people (not the nobility) the French had a revolution on 14 July 1789 and threw the king and the church out of the government and installed that separation. To be legally married in France you have to go to the town hall where they perform a quick ceremony, then, depending if you are a religious person, and of what religion, you can go to a church, a temple, a synagogue or mosk, so you end up with two certificates. If not, if you only went to the religious place then the government would not recognize the wedding because that would be to mix religion and state you see. The largest Muslim population is in France and they would have to recognize weddings done in a mosk, do they recognize them here?

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