Carabetta v. Carabetta

182 Conn. 344, 438 A.2d 109 (1980)



A properly celebrated marriage, without a license, was not invalid but was voidable and the policy of the law opposed regarding attempted marriages as void.


A husband and wife were duly married in a church, but they did not obtain a marriage license. Thereafter, the couple lived together and raised four children together. When the wife filed for a divorce, the husband contended that they were not legally married, even though he had never before disputed the legitimacy of the marriage. The court held that the trial court erred when it found that there was not a legal marriage and that it had no jurisdiction.


Was the couple's marriage void?




The court found that (1) a marriage duly solemnized but deficient for want of a marriage license was not void for lack of a marriage license, but was voidable; (2) the policy of the law was strongly opposed to regarding an attempted marriage entered into in good faith, believed by one or both of the parties to be legal, and followed by cohabitation to be void; (3) in the absence of express language in the governing statute declaring a marriage void for failure to observe a statutory requirement, such a marriage, though imperfect, was dissoluble rather than void; and (4) the Connecticut Legislature's failure expressly to characterize as void a marriage properly celebrated without a license meant that such a marriage was not invalid.

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