New Jersey service men and women no longer have to put off their wedding plans due to deployment to active duty thanks to new legislation signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie last week. The law allows for marriage by proxy for military personnel stationed overseas. (1) If after reading the following, you need a Hunterdon County lawyer that can assist you with a proxy marriage or other marriage issue, contact the family lawyers at The Rotolo Law Firm.
The new bill was a bipartisan effort sponsored by Republican Sen. Diane Allen and Democratic Assemblyman Herb Conaway. It gained full Legislature approval on January 9 and was signed into law on January 17. (2) As a result, New Jersey residents actively serving in our Armed Forces no longer have to put off the benefits of marriage merely because one of them is deployed for military action.
A marriage by proxy is one in which someone with a power of attorney stands in for the bride or groom who cannot be present for the wedding formalities. Proxy marriages are not new and, in fact, have been around for centuries — Napoleon married Marie Louise by proxy; a number of Japanese “picture brides” married their American husbands by proxy in the early 1900s; (3) and cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko married Ekaterina Dmitriev by proxy while he was serving on the International Space Station. (4)
The advantage of a proxy marriage is that the couple does not have to wait to share the legal benefits of marriage, which include health and insurance benefits, legal rights, tax benefits and rights to power of attorney while in service to their country. (2)
New Jersey joins four other states in the nation that recognize proxy marriages. Colorado, California, Texas and Montana are the others. (2) Of those, Montana is the only state that allows for double proxy marriages, which are ceremonies where neither the bride nor groom can be present. Ironically, however, not all counties in Montana permit marriage by proxy. (3)
It should be noted that while some states recognize proxy marriages performed in those areas where allowed, others recognize such unions only as common law marriages. (3) Because marriage laws vary by locale, it is important to seek professional advice if you have concerns. If you or someone you know has questions regarding proxy marriages or marriage laws in Hunterdon County, contact the Lebanon, NJ family lawyers at The Rotolo Law Firm, approximately ten miles from the County Seat in Flemington, NJ.