You and your spouse have brought three children into the world and have spent the last 20 years as husband and wife. Somewhere along the way, one or both of you starts to contemplate divorce. Then, at the 20-year mark, one of you decides to file for divorce. This seems like a very typical scenario as far as divorces go. It's the exact scenario that one millionaire and his wife are living out. But there is one exception: the husband is claiming they were never legally married.
This tactic might come as a shock, but apparently it has been successfully used before. The man, who is a part-owner of Vornado Realty Trust and holds a stake in a national football team, claims his marriage to his wife never technically happened. He says the couple had their ceremony on Dec. 5, 1993, which was done 16 days before their marriage license was granted.
Now this may seem cut and dry, but it doesn't mean the court will automatically dismiss the woman's divorce filing. In situations like this, the court can consider the "good faith of the parties." The wife has provided plenty of evidence showing the two lived as a married couple, including joint tax returns, anniversary cards, and other legal documents that identified the two as husband and wife. According to a news report, one anniversary card from the husband to the wife read, "After 20 years I'd marry you all over again."
It will be interesting to see how the court rules. The court's ruling will have a direct impact on how assets are distributed in the divorce.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Son of Minnesota Vikings Park-Owner Says He Wasn't Legally Married to His Wife," Yoni Bashan and Heather Haddon, Sept. 18, 2014