When a couple would like to get married but are not able to be physically in the same place at the same time, they may be candidates for a proxy marriage. In a proxy marriage ceremony, a substitute, known as a proxy, stands in for the missing party.
The proxy performs the wedding vows on behalf of the missing party and observes any signing and notarizing of official wedding documents. At the end of the legal ceremony and document signing, the marriage is final and legal.
Where are Proxy Marriages Legal?
Proxy marriages are only legal in four states in the U.S., one of which happens to be California. California requires at least one of the two parties to be physically present to perform a legal marriage ceremony.
When are Proxy Marriages Used?
Proxy marriages are used for U.S. military members deployed overseas and other exceptional circumstances where a future spouse cannot travel but wants to marry as soon as possible. This includes sponsoring a new spouse for a green card.
Can a Proxy Marriage Be Used for U.S. Immigration?
It is important to note that proxy marriages do not constitute a lawful marriage for U.S. citizenship. A couple may have a legal proxy ceremony for sponsoring a new spouse for a green card and moving to the U.S. However, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services requires the couple to consummate the marriage after the union takes place before it will recognize the marriage.
Proving Consummation of a Proxy Marriage for Immigration
Proving consummation of the marriage is typically done by affidavit, or a sworn personal statement, affirming the relationship was consummated. The affidavit is submitted with evidence of time spent together after the marriage, like on a honeymoon trip, proof of a pre-existing relationship, and photographs, documents, hotel bills, or other materials to show the relationship is not fraudulent.
Having a child together helps establish a pre-existing relationship. However, a couple must still provide evidence to satisfy the requirement of the consummation of the marriage after the proxy ceremony. The U.S. requires that both members of a married party submit proof of consummation before a green card will be issued.
An Experienced California Family Law Attorney Can Help
If you would like to learn more about proxy marriages and whether you and your partner qualify, contact the experienced Los Angeles family law attorneys at Fernandez & Karney. At Fernandez & Karney, our attorneys can assist you with all of your legal marital needs.
Marriage is a personal commitment and binding legal contract. Protect yourself, your former children, and your separate assets by seeking compassionate and knowledgeable guidance before your vows. Fernandez & Karney can help you with a premarital agreement that will establish property rights throughout your marriage and in the event of death or divorce.
Contact Fernandez & Karney today to schedule your confidential consultation. We look forward to speaking with you at your earliest convenience.