Proxy Marriage in California

divorce attorneysIn a post-COVID world, we’ve increasingly gotten this question: when getting married, do you have to physically be in the same location as your partner during the proceedings? This isn’t a new or novel scenario, but it has increased with the prevalence of COVID. In CA, this question is actually addressed by the family law code. 

Many people aren’t familiar with proxy marriages, which allows a couple to have one person be substituted by a proxy, or a stand-in. The proxy is able to perform wedding vows, sign documents, and complete the legal ceremony with the other person absent. Note that proxy marriages are legal in only 4 state, with one of these being CA.

Use Cases for Proxy Marriages in CA

Proxy marriages have traditionally been used for servicemembers who might be deployed or away from home, and simply can’t hop on a plane and return even for just the ceremony itself. With the ongoing pandemic however, travel has become more limited and proxy marriages have proven to be a useful tool. 

Proxy Marriage and Immigration

While proxy marriages can be used to sponsor someone to have them apply for a green card, there is one catch to this. The U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services does not recognize a proxy marriage until it has been consummated. They’ll require proof of this, which can include an affidavit with evidence of things such as a honeymoon trip, an ongoing relationship, and more. Having a child with the other party can further help enforce this, but note that evidence of consummation after the marriage took place is still required.

Reach Out to a Knowledgeable Family Law Attorney

As you can see, proxy marriages can provide a lot of utility and value for couples who may be dealing with the challenge of distance. However, there are several caveats to keep in mind, especially as it pertains to immigration law in CA and the U. S. 

We hope this post provided a useful overview of proxy marriage in CA. To learn more about this and other related issues, and to speak with a qualified family law attorney, don’t hesitate to reach out to us directly. Give us a call at (949) 825-5245 to book a free initial appointment.