Military couples are used to abrupt interruptions. But it can be especially disappointing if deployment means putting a wedding on hold. The good news is that couples can still be married in Montana, even if one or both partners can’t be physically present. Review these five things to know about Montana proxy marriages so you’re aware of your options.
A Stand-In Takes Your Place
In a proxy marriage, each partner completes the required paperwork and sends it back to the proxy marriage provider who will file it with the local county clerk’s office. Once a marriage license is issued, the provider can schedule a wedding where a stand-in takes the place of the absent partner.
The stand-in will recite the vows on behalf of the person they represent, and sign the marriage certificate “as proxy for” that person. The partner who is present will say the vows for themselves, and sign for themselves.
The proxy marriage service then files that certificate with the clerk’s office, and the marriage is legally recognized.
Montana Is the Only State That Allows Double Proxy Marriage
One of the most important things to know about Montana proxy marriages is that, while most states limit proxy marriage to a single proxy (where only one of the partners can’t be there), Montana allows double proxy marriage. Double proxy marriage happens when neither party can be physically present. This is especially helpful for dual-military couples who are deployed thousands of miles apart from each other.
Montana Residents and Active Military Personnel Are Eligible
Proxy marriage in Montana is available to any resident of Montana and to all active military personnel, regardless of whether they are from Montana. If either one of the partners falls into one of these categories, a proxy marriage or double proxy marriage is available.
Couples Can Prove They Are Legally Married Even If Apart
When a proxy marriage is complete, it usually takes 2-5 business days for the clerk’s office to send certified copies of the marriage certificate to both parties. With the certified copy, couples can demonstrate they are legally married, and apply for all the benefits due to spouses. This includes military benefits for spouses of active-duty personnel.
You Can Still Have a Big Wedding
Going through a proxy marriage doesn’t mean you can’t have the big celebration you were hoping to have before deployment, accident, or illness interrupted your plans. When you’re sure you’ll both be in the same place, and family and friends can attend, go ahead and have that fancy church ceremony and big reception. You deserve it for enduring the separation and retaining your devotion to each other.