Personalized Attention ~ Experienced Advice

Divorce | Family Law | Adoption | Personal Injury

Man tries to disavow his marriage to avoid maintenance

On Behalf of | Dec 1, 2012 | Family Law |

Some people who want to get divorced wish that the entire wedding never happened. They would have done things differently, saved quite a bit of money, and probably would have a better life. Indeed, this is all hyperbole, but a Maryland man literally tried to disavow his marriage in order to avoid paying maintenance to his ex-wife and dividing the marital estate.

According to an report, the man publicly claimed his wife for more than 18 years. But when she sought a divorce (along with her share of the marital estate, child support and spousal maintenance) the man claimed that their marriage was a sham.

The couple apparently married in 1993 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but was not physically present at the ceremony. His cousin represented him while the man participated by phone. A traditional dowry was exchanged and the couple then moved to Arlington and lived there as husband and wife.

When the marriage deteriorated and the wife asked for a divorce, the man claimed that he was completely unaware of their nuptials, despite naming his wife as a beneficiary on his insurance policy, obtaining permanent resident status for her, and telling immigration officers that he had married her.

A Montgomery County trial court found that the marriage was valid despite the uncommon nature of the marriage ceremony. The Maryland Court of Appeals agreed, ruling that the marriage would be valid in the Congo, and would be recognized in Maryland. The Maryland Supreme Court also affirmed the decision.

Suffice it to say, you can’t avoid alimony by denying that your wedding ever took place; especially after playing house for twenty years.

Source:, Wedding absence doesn’t get Maryland man off hook for alimony, court says, November 24, 2012