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When Kourtney Kardashian married Travis Barker at a Santa Barbara courthouse in May 2022, it was for real. In a secret ceremony, Kardashian, a star in the popular reality TV show "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," wed Barker, best known as the drummer for Blink-182.
But weren't they just married in Italy last weekend? And wasn't there another wedding in Las Vegas last month?
After last month's Grammy Awards, Kardashian and Barker held a marriage ceremony at the One Love Wedding Chapel. But, despite being officiated by an Elvis impersonator, it was not a legal marriage because they lacked a marriage license. And even though they were already legally married in California, they held a ceremony in Italy.
A valid marriage involves a valid marriage license and ceremony. First, you must apply for a marriage license in your state by completing an application at your local clerk's office. Your state has specific requirements to grant a marriage license.
Second, you must hold a marriage ceremony. Contrary to what the bridal industry says, you can have small marriage ceremony, provided there are two critical features: an officiant and witnesses.
After the ceremony, you or the officiant files the certificate with the county. Finally, the county issues a certified marriage certificate, the proof of a legal marriage.
A legal marriage conveys certain property rights between spouses. For example, California is a community property state. Therefore, California treats any assets or income acquired during the marriage as owned jointly.
Upon death, divorce, or annulment, the state divides the marital property 50-50. Presumably, the celebrities negotiated a prenuptial agreement before their ceremony setting out their own property distribution agreement if the marriage dissolved.
As a legal spouse, you can receive spousal benefits such as Social Security benefits. Or receive benefits from your spouse's employer, pension plan, or military benefits.
As a married person, you are entitled to an "intestate share" of your spouse's estate. Therefore, if your spouse leaves you nothing in their will, your intestate share will be one-third to one-half of your spouse's estate.
A few states recognize common law marriage where a couple holds themselves out to be married. For example, they act as a married couple, live together, take the same last name, refer to each other as their "spouse," and hold assets and property together. In those states, if a couple can prove that they meet the common law requirements, the state recognizes them as legally married.
Before the 2015 landmark Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v Hodges legalizing same-sex marriage, many same-sex couples formed civil unions. States recognized civil unions to allow same-sex couples to confer benefits to one another. However, civil unions do not convey federal benefits and are not recognized in all states.
Marriage is a serious union that has legal ramifications. An attorney specializing in family law helps couples with prenuptial agreements, marriage requirements, and divorce.
So, is Kardashian-Barker marriage real? According to California law, it is. But whether it's a Kardashian publicity stunt is anyone's guess.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.