California  |  Wills and Trusts

Legal Question

Asked on: 9/11/13, 9:35 am

My husband and I were married in Montego Bay, Jamaica, at a Sandals resort. Our marriage is valid in the US; however, we are not recognized as a married couple in the state of California. We have proof of our marriage --an official marriage certificate from the parish of St. James, Jamaica. Do we need to proceed in filing a Petition to Establish a Fact of Marriage in our county of residence (Santa Clara County) with the Probate office? Examples are given as to why one would need to establish a fact of marriage (ie you married outside the US and you CANNOT get a certified marriage certificate) as seen at http://www.scscourt.org/self_help/probate/probate_facts.shtml

We are not sure if this applies to us because we do have a certified marriage certificate. Also, we wanted to know, would be a good idea to hire a lawyer in this matter? If so, what area of law would this situation fall under? Probate? We want to be sure that our assets, retirement accounts, and other services available to a married couple in the state of California are not in jeopardy.

Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

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