Is Monica entitled to the $20 million won by Chandler in a lottery after the latter’s death when their marriage was solemnized by an officer whose credentials of license or ordination were not filed to the court administrator before the marriage? Brief Answer No. Monica is not a lawful wife of Chandler since the marriage is void from the beginning. A marriage to be lawful shall be solemnized, among others, by a licensed or ordained minister of any religious denomination and shall file their credential to the court administrator of the district court of the county of Minnesota.
Joey who solemnized the marriage did not qualify the requirements of an authorized solemnizing officer. Statement of Facts The parents of Chandler are questioning whether Monica is lawfully married to Chandler. Chandler and Monica were engaged to be married. Joey, a mutual friend of the two, offered to officiate the marriage. Joey was ordained as a minister by a non- denominational church by filling up a form on the Internet and received a certificate through mail. Joey did not file a copy of his credential of license or ordination with the court administrator.
On June 1, 2005, the marriage was formalized. On June 15, 2005, Chandler won $20 million in a lottery. On July 1, 2005, Chandler died in an automobile accident. In settling Chandler’s estate, Monica and Chandler’s parent cannot settle on who has the right over the $20 million because Chandler’s parents are contesting the legality of their marriage. Discussion It is erroneous to award the $20 million to Monica because she is not a lawful wife of Chandler as mandated by law.
A marriage to be lawful shall be solemnized by one authorized. Chapter 517 sec. 01 Minnesota Statutes. It is provided in Chapter 517 sec. 04 of the Minnesota Statute that marriage may be solemnized throughout the state… by a licensed or ordained minister. Further, the parties shall declare their marriage in the presence of the person authorized to solemnize marriages. Chapter 517 sec. 09 Minnesota Statutes. Joey may be ordained as a minister however he failed to comply with the requirement of the law.
Ministers of any religious denomination, before they are authorized to solemnize a marriage, shall file a copy of their credentials of license or ordination with the court administrator of the district court of the county of this state. Charter 517 sec. 05 Minnesota Statutes. Joey, having failed to comply with the requirement of the law, at the time he solemnized the wedding, was not an authorized officer as mandated by the statute. The lack of authority of Joey made the marriage of Chandler and Monica void. Thus, the $20 million should be awarded to the parents of Chandler.