What Happens If You Make a Mistake on Your Marriage License

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Imagine a scenario where you have been married several times and you do not want your fiancée to know about your previous marriages. While that is completely reasonable, there are many things to consider when filling out your marriage license application.

You may be wondering if it is illegal to not disclose the correct number of times you have been married before, and possibly even feeling embarrassed to have to review your history or admit to perceived past mistakes. Finally, you may be wondering if your marriage is still legal if you do not disclose your past marriages and if authorities check this information. At worst, you may wonder if they will communicate to your partner about your past without your consent.

Be Honest About Your Former Marriages

While it may sound daunting, the healthiest thing you can do for your long-term relationship is to consider being honest with your fiancée about your former marriages. Although it is unlikely that the marriage officials would look into checking the validity of statements on a marriage license or notify your husband, the truth simply has a way of becoming known, and it could have a very negative impact on your marriage in the long run such as leading to an unsuccessful marriage.

It's Ilegal to Lie on Applications

According to most state and country laws, it is illegal to lie when you are filling out your marriage license application. However, the lie does not necessarily invalidate your marriage. Withholding information about how many times you were previously married or how old you are is generally considered immaterial to your marriage.

How Marriages Become Invalid

Generally, in order to have your marriage declared invalid by a court, the false information has to violate state law. The following examples are scenarios that may violate state law depending on where you live:

  • Under Legal Age of Consent
  • Bigamy
  • Incest
  • Insanity
  • Fraud

The Repercussions of False Information

Unfortunately, there could be legal consequences to giving false information on a marriage license application. These types of reprimand may include being charged with perjury or a misdemeanor. Compare Wisconsin and Rhode Island to get an idea:

Wisconsin law states, "A penalty of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment of not more than 9 months or both to any person who knowingly gives false information when applying for a marriage license."​​
Rhode Island law states, "Any person who willfully and knowingly supplies false information on a marriage license shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both, pursuant to Section 23-3-28 of the RI General Laws."

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This text should not be regarded as legal advice. Consult an attorney familiar with marriage and family law and your own personal circumstances for legal advice regarding providing false information on marriage license applications or invalid marriages.