Family Law Keyed to Weisberg

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Carabetta v. Carabetta

Citation. Carabetta v. Carabetta, 182 Conn. 344, 438 A.2d 109, 1980 Conn. LEXIS 995 (Conn. Nov. 25, 1980)

Brief Fact Summary. Plaintiff and Defendant exchanged vows before a priest but did not properly obtain a marriage certificate. Defendant claims that the marriage is void.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Under Connecticut law a failure to obtain a marriage license make the marriage dissoluble rather than void when proper solemnization occurs.

Facts. In 1955 Plaintiff and Defendant exchanged marital vows before a priest according to Roman Catholic custom. They proceeded to live together as husband and wife and raise four children bearing the father’s surname. Defendant in the present action denies that plaintiff and defendant are married because a marriage certificate was never issued.

Issue. Under Connecticut law s a marriage void for failing to comply with the statutory requirements despite solemnization according to appropriate religious ceremony?

Held. The marriage is not void due to the legislature’s failure to expressly characterize a properly celebrated marriage as void for lack of a marriage license.
No substantive requirement that determines marriage eligibility has been claimed. The other regulations consist of formalities: a marriage license and solemnization.

Under licensing, the statute describes only a fine for any person who shall join any other persons in marriage without having received the license. Under solemnization, when someone joins persons in marriage without the authorization to do so the marriage is rendered void. Because there is no express language voiding the marriage under the licensing requirement statute, the marriage is dissoluble rather than void.

Discussion. The Court examined the State’s marriage statutes to determine that the legislature’s express intent was not to void marriages for failure to properly obtain a marriage license.