The Lighter Side of Family Law: Obscure and Outdated Laws From Around the Country

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Family law matters are very serious and going through a divorce, a child custody battle or a contentious distribution of marital property are certainly not laughing matters. In San Antonio and elsewhere, there are many important considerations when going through any type of family law matter. However, there are some obscure and outdated laws on the books relating to family law matters that can bring some smiles in the midst of troubling times. Here is a sampling of those laws.

If you happen to be a husband who absolutely cannot stand his mother-in-law, you should consider moving to Wichita, Kansas. The mistreatment of a mother-in-law is not grounds for divorce in that town, based on an old law still on the books. However, that is probably not a good idea though if you want to keep your wife happy.

It is illegal for a woman to remarry the same man four times in Kentucky. There is no rationale given for choosing four times instead of some other number but if it hasn’t worked the first three times why bother trying again? One can only imagine that the folks who penned this law felt that after three times perhaps someone else should make the decision for you. However, as long as the marriage is with different men, the sky is the limit. You can marry as many times as you want.

Marriage by proxy is a fairly odd way to get married, unless you are a service member of the United States Armed Forces and unable to be present for your wedding. In California, Colorado, Texas and Montana marriage by proxy is allowed for civil marriages, where someone other than the bride or groom stands in for them at the wedding. Montana even allows double-proxy weddings, where neither the bride nor groom needs to be present for the wedding to take place.

In Truro, Massachusetts, the groom must go hunting and “prove himself manly” by shooting either six blackbirds or three crows, prior to getting married.

New Orleans, Louisiana has a law on the books making it illegal for palm readers, fortune tellers, mystics and the like to be able to perform your wedding ceremony. Stranger things have happened down in the French Quarter.

Until it was corrected, there was an embarrassing Arkansas law on the books between 2007 and 2008 that stated anyone under the age of 18 could get married with parental consent. The law was promulgated to allow pregnant teens to get married with parental consent. Unfortunately, no minimum age was included meaning even babies could marry if their parents approved. A change was made in April 2008, establishing a minimum age of 17 for boys and 16 for girls.

Finally, South Carolina has a statute on the books under Offenses Against Morality and Decency. The law makes it a misdemeanor for men over 16 to propose marriage as a joke. Although it is rarely if ever used, the intention of the statute was apparently to ensure that women were not lied to in order to seduce them.

Enough lightheartedness, if you are seriously considering a divorce, need help with child custody and support issues or some other family law matter, you need to talk to an attorney experienced in handling those kinds of cases on a daily basis.

Allan R. Manka, P.C. is a San Antonio attorney who has represented Bexar County residents and others throughout the state in a variety of family law matters for almost 40 years.

In addition to proudly representing the servicemen and servicewomen at Lackland and Randolph Air Force Bases, he has represented clients in all surrounding counties throughout South Texas.

Contact us for a no obligation initial consultation. Mr. Manka offers various methods of payment that will fit any budget and provide you with high quality legal representation.

Other Resources:

10 Obscure Marriage Laws in the U.S., Woman’s Day

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