Our friend Robin Epstein and her sister Amy Epstein Feldman just wrote a hilarious (not to mention helpful) book called So Sue Me, Jackass! Avoiding Legal Pitfalls That Can Come Back to Bite You at Work, at Home, and at Play. Last week we published an excerpt that answered the age-old question, Can you get sued if you break someone’s penis during sex? This week we’ll learn about quickie Vegas marriages (listen up Britney). Stay tuned for more excerpts in the coming weeks.
Q: What if, drunk and in Vegas, my boyfriend and I accidentally say “I do” before we come to our senses and realize we’re doing? Shouldn’t that be counted as “temporary insanity” and therefore not legal?
A: Well, villagers in India shooed a groom away from his own wedding because they determined that he was too drunk to get married. While many Americans may now be wondering where those villagers were on their wedding day, it raises an interesting question: under the law, are you considered incompetent to marry if you are drunk at the time of your vows and if so, is your marriage void?
Ha! Nice try.
While state laws differ, many do prevent people who are visibly intoxicated from getting a marriage license. Once the vows are said, a person may later claim that the marriage was voidable because of incompetence. But in most states the Britney Spears fifty-five-hour marriage of the I got drunk last night and did what, now? variety is not automatically void. You still need a divorce or annulment to end the marriage. If you thought you needed a drink before you said “I do” — imagine what it will take to say “Uh, on second thought . . .”
If you genuinely do want to get married, you first need to show that you are eligible to do so, which means that you have reached the age of consent, you are capable of entering the partnership, and you are not already married to someone else. Once you get married, you remain married until your divorce is official. All those people who renew their vows don’t become more married with every ceremony. Marriage is marriage, divorce is divorce, and everyone knows renewing your vows is just another way to get more gifts off your registry.
So Sue Me, Jackass! is on sale everywhere now. For more information — or to ask them your own embarrassing question — check out SoSueMeJackass.com. We’ll be posting more excerpts here in the coming weeks.