A defect in the language used in certain Church of England wedding ceremonies over the last thirty years reportedly may invalidate some one million marriages due to a legal technicality.
It seems that the Church’s ceremonial language was updated.
However, the prior ceremonial language was mirrored in a British statute regulating procedures for valid marriages …
And the statutorily-mandated language was not amended to conform to the updated ceremonial language.
An attorney for the Church of England denied the invalidation of any marriages due to the technical defect in the updated church ceremony though, citing a “savings clause” in the statute applicable to marriages entered in “good faith” by the intended husband and wife.
But other Church attorneys, as well as secular divorce law attorneys and family law attorneys in the UK expressed doubts.
Perhaps the most interesting issue raised by this gaffe is:
can the ceremonial defect be raised as a defense in divorce cases, in an effort to avoid support obligations or property division under divorce law and child support law?
Whatever the interpretation of the existing British statute, a properly crafted future amendment to the statute may address the concerns.