Is this Jamaican wedding legal?

by Puzzled?
(New York)

My boyfriend is a Jamaican born American citizen. He was dating a Jamaican citizen that had a greencard in the U.S.A. He tells me that when they went to Jamaica on vacation for 5 days in 1990, his girlfriend informed him that they were getting married when he woke up the next morning. She had planned this marriage without his knowledge.

He went to a local bar and got quite drunk. The girlfriend's brother came to get him and take him to the church where the wedding took place. He was drunk and there was never a marriage license. She probably stole his birth certificate and copied it from his home.

There were only four people at the wedding, him, her and two witnesses. The reception was at one of her family members homes. He was so drunk that he did not even attend. He woke up late that night to find that he was married to her. He had never been married before.

He was in love with the woman at the time, so he agreed to give the marriage a try. It lasted for 4 years. They have been separated since 1994.

Was this marriage legal? We have been talking about marriage and he doesn't know whether he has to divorce her or whether he was really never legally married to her.

ANSWER: by Wellesley May 16, 2011

Hi 'Puzzled',

I have a personal opinion on this, but I'll keep it to myself.

It sounds like you need to contact the RGD though. That's the registrar General's Department - the local organization that manages records and information for all births, death, marriages etc.

They might be the best to provide you your answers or further direction.

As customary, I will also post this question in our our blog and on facebook fan page and solicit feedback/comments from our fans.

Related: Weddings in Jamaica.
stay in touch.


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