Good day, all.
My wife and I eloped in August of 2003 and were married in Riverside County, CA. I don't remember a lot of the details regarding the marriage license, but I think I may have e-mailed the information to our minister, who then filed for our license, and then brought it to the chapel where my wife and I signed it.
The document is titled: LICENSE AND CERTIFICATE OF CONFIDENTIAL MARRIAGE
There is one section where it is signed by a Dep. Clerk, along with the date the license was issued and its expiration date. Then there is also the section where our minister signed it to solemnize the marriage and the date on it is 5 days from the date the license was issued, well before the expiration date. And, of course, my wife and I also signed it.
After that, I don't remember what else the minister said regarding the license, but I do remember something about turning it in (don't know if she meant she would turn it in or that I would have to turn it in) and also said where I could go to pick up a copy of it if I needed one (county office).
A few weeks later, I received a copy of this document in the mail, with a COPY stamp at the bottom. I figured it was already taken care of and that was that, so I paid no attention to it for a few years until I recently needed it for insurance purposes.
A few weeks ago, I was unable to find this document, so I went to the county office to get a copy of it and I was told that they had no record of it. I gave them all the correct information and said it was a confidential marriage and they were unable to find it. I finally found my copy a few days later, but now I don't know if it's valid or not.
Before I found my copy, I called the phone number I had for the minister and was informed that she had passed away last year and that her records were nowhere to be found. What I'm thinking could have happened is that when the minister sent the original back to the county, that it may have gotten lost in the mail and was never filed. Another possibility is that my wife's FIRST name was misspelled on this document (ending in E instead of A). I doubt that would have anything to do with it, though.
I'm going back to the county office to see if they could find it with the different spelling of my wife's name or with the License Number at the top, but I thought I'd see what others might think of this situation. It sounds like a 100% legal document to me, but what if it was never filed after we got married? Is our marriage still valid?
Thanks for reading!What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)?