Question regarding Marital Status on SF 86

In a situation where you got married in a religious ceremony but never obtained or filed for a license at the court…would you still list marital status as married or cohabitant? The status was listed as married on previous Sf 86 and questions regarding the legality of the marriage never came up. And if you do end up getting a marriage license down the road, would that require you to report change of status? Even though you’re still married to the same person.

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You provided just enough information to create more questions.

Was the religious ceremony not a legal ceremony? Did you not obtain a marriage license? What does your state law (or the state you married) say about your marriage?

If you are not legally bound by marriage - then you have a cohabitation. If a cohab becomes a spouse - this is a reportable event.

Sadly, I have had cases (please note the plural) where Subject remarried without bothering to file for divorce from the previous spouse - so at least you don’t have that headache.


At this point, I would add her as a spouse and note in the comments somewhere that it was a marriage in ceremony only, in case it comes up later.

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California does not have common law marriages (In some states just saying “Meet my wife” makes you legally married but not CA). I have also seen more than one couple go to Vegas for a wedding without filing for the legal paperwork, in which case it is all for show and a souvenir–nothing binding about it.

At this point I would ask your intent. Why get married and not get the license to really get married? You knew you needed the license from the start. Is there a family member you are trying to please with this act? Then again it does not appear you are trying to hide anything. If you do decide to legally marry at a later date and then having a new marriage date would make things interesting. I totally agree with the above reply, say you are married in a religious level only.

We were together long enough for south dakota to call us married but we are separated

I was common law married but no longer with her