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Married Or Not, Here We Come...

Sometimes getting married in Vegas isn't all it's advertised to be, according to Hal, our correspondent in Vegas:

Were they really married? Couples have cause to doubt [LV Sun]

As far as Kimberly Shirak of Ypsilanti, Mich., is concerned, she and her husband of six months are married - really, truly, legally married.

And to prove it, she’s got a marriage certificate from Las Vegas’ Garden of Love, photos of family members and an Elvis impersonator, and the signature of an official witness.

Problem is, the witness - the chapel’s co-owner - was about 1,000 miles away at the time of the April 7 nuptials, watching an Ultimate Fighting Championship match in Texas.

So, back to the big question: Does that mean Shirak is or isn’t married?

We may not have gotten married in Vegas, but on the eve of our silver anniversary (we're still undecided as to whether we'll throw a grand party or silently slink out of the country for the weekend... right now, we're leaning toward the latter) it's probably worth looking at the facts.

  • At our courthouse ceremony in Minneapolis in 1983, we never actually paid the judge. She went on to Minnesota Court of Appeals, so it didn't seem to hurt her career.
  • Our original marriage certificate is defaced. Frauke is named on the certificate as "Frauke (NMN) Petersen" (NMN = no middle name), which she took that as a grave insult, and blotted out the "(NMN)" with a quart of Liquid Paper.

  • Our German ceremony in 1985 was church-only, which in Germany counts for nothing. If you're not at a Standesamt, it doesn't count.

  • When we moved to Germany in 1990, our American marriage certificate was initially not accepted by the Germany authorities... not because of the suspicious white blotch in the middle of the bride's name, but because the certificate did not have a number. The office in Kiel sent it off to the central Standesamt in Berlin, and 6 weeks later it was accepted, but with a long explanatory remark in our German Familienbuch certificate.

  • Since we each kept our last names when we married in the States, which is not allowed in Germany, most people in Germany assumed we were not married when we were introduced with separate last names. (Frauke has since added a hyphenated "-Hanson" to her name, not for my sake, but for Christopher's).

At this point, after 24 years, I don't think either of us has any interest in refuting the assumption that in spite of any and all doubts, we are truly married. Particularly with Frauke's career and financial success, the fact that we've had a joint bank account all these years would make a disentanglement of our affairs complicated and (for her) expensive.

Then again, our bank just sent out updated EC cards for our personal account... and my card came addressed to her. Should I be worried?

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