Thank you for allowing me to answer your interesting question. Since
you are already married you cannot apply for a marriage certificate in
California as if you were never married. The application process
requires you to affirm under oath that you are not legally married at
the time of your application. To falsify this affidavit places you
both in danger of perjury. California law provides that only ?an
unmarried man and an unmarried woman? are eligible to apply for a
CALIFORNIA FAMILY LAW
I realize you love each other and all that but you must also consider
the ramifications down the road if your marriage does not work out ?
it?s a fact that many marriages don?t. Should that occur there would
be some terribly confusing legal issues about when and where you were
married and whether or not you violated the law. Likewise there will
also be questions down the road about your eligibility for Social
Security, disability, retirement, and death benefits and on and on,
which are already incredibly complicated without adding to it the
issue of a false marriage.
Now that I?ve answered your question about the possibility of ?faking?
a marriage, let me add some unsolicited advice:
Like it to not, your marriage makes your wife a member of your family.
This fact does not require your parents? approval. You have made a
man?s decision and as such you should stand up and defend your
position. By all accounts it sounds as if your parents are determined
to have YOUR life THEIR way and you seem to imply that you are willing
to submit to their demands. The best approach in any aspect of your
life is HONESTY. In the long run you will gain more respect from your
wife if you simply take your parents aside and tell them the truth. To
live the lie is to refuse to defend your decision, which is ultimately
a refusal to defend yourself and your wife. Believe me, it WILL make a
difference to her that you defended her honor.
What happens later if the truth unexpectedly comes out? Oh yes, it can
happen. How embarrassing would this be and how would you explain it to
your parents or to the California authorities? Did you know that all
Clark County Nevada marriage records are online for the public to see?
They are. I know, because you and I and thousands of others like us
who were married in Las Vegas are in it. All it would take would be
one curious person to discover this and let the cat out of the bag.
CLARK COUNTY NEVADA
I recommend you contact the pastor and ask for a private consultation.
Explain your situation and tell him that you married because it was
the right and honorable thing to do in order for two people who love
each other to live the type of intimate life the two of you felt
compelled to live. Tell him you refuse to be dishonest and you want to
be open with your parents in defending your wife's honor as a member
of the family. Ask him to accompany the both of you to a neutral place
(not their home) to explain the situation to your parents. My guess is
that the pastor will help smooth the situation out and that the
wedding will take place as planned. In your private circle it will be
known that this is a ?renewal of vows? but no one else will be wiser
and for all intents and purposes this will be a true "wedding". People
renew vows all the time and there?s nothing unusual or illegal about
it. This way there is no lie, nothing to cover up, no disappointed
relatives and no fooling around with the law. If there is any "secret"
to be held, it should be from your wedding guests, not the parents or
In short ? no, you cannot legally apply for a marriage license in
California if you are already married (even to each other).
The workaround ? have a ceremony without a certificate. The guests
don't see the pastor sign the certificate anyway, so it won't matter
to them one way or the other. You won?t need a certifcate since you
are already married, however, in order to pull this off effectively
you?ll have to face the music with the parents (unless the pastor
agrees to help precipitate the lie ? which isn?t likely).
I hope you find that my answer exceeds your expectations. If you have
any questions about my research please post a clarification request
prior to rating the answer. Otherwise I welcome your rating and your
final comments and I look forward to working with you again in the
near future. Thank you for bringing your question to us.
Tutuzdad-ga ? Google Answers Researcher
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Request for Answer Clarification by
12 Jul 2006 22:35 PDT
Thank you so much for your answer... I apologize for the late reply,
I thought that answers came striaght into my inbox like craigslist.
Unfortunately, my wife and I feel pretty strongly that telling my
parents is not the optimal solution at this time for a variety of
reasons. In terms of solution, one idea would be to confess to our
own pastor and have him conduct our ceremony. Do you think this is a
viable solution, and if we use our parent's church, is it totally
against precedent to use our own pastor? Are there any other possible
solutions to this without telling my parents?
Clarification of Answer by
13 Jul 2006 06:54 PDT
As for the notification feature here, you are right; clarifications,
answers and so forth are normally forwarded however there is an
unfortunate technical problem that currently prevents that feature
from working properly. Otherwise you would have been notified via your
Where the church protocol is concerned this is often determined by
church policy. While some churches do not allow outside clergy to
officiate in their churches ? especially those of other faiths ?
generally speaking most churches do permit outside clergy to officiate
weddings, funerals and other non-worship ceremonies. You?ll simply
have to find out what this particular church allows. I would imagine
that having your own pastor officiate would not be a problem if you
simply explain that you prefer to have a favored pastor conduct the
One thing that you might need to be aware of is that your personal
pastor may need to make a subtle modification to the wording of the
ceremony in order to refrain from becoming part of the ?lie?. Where
the pastor normally says, ??.then, by the power vested in me by the
state of California I now pronounce you husband and wife?, he may need
to say something to the effect of ??then, on your profession of love,
before these witnesses I now pronounce you husband and wife?. This
will absolve him from suggesting that he does indeed have the
authority in the state of California, which he will not have since you
will not have the legal documents necessary to make a California
marriage official. The wording is a simple but important modification
that will probably go unnoticed by those in attendance.
I believe that if you sit down with your pastor and explain the
situation that he will probably go along with the plan. Assuming the
church has no objections to the outside clergyman presiding over the
wedding ceremony the problem may very well be one that has been blown
out of proportion. As a rule when people marry the signing of the
documentation is something that is relatively low-key anyway and
usually done outside the view of others. Whether or not there is any
document to sign will not be common knowledge HOWEVER the official
legal announcement by the county clerk may be noticeably absent from
the newspaper since you won?t be filing for a license. This may
require some additional explanation for which I have no advise. You?ll
have to wing that one as best you can when, or if, a question about
its absence arises.
Best of luck;