Legal Question in Family Law in Virginia

Marriage performed by Captain of Vessel

Can the Captain (USCG 100Ton Master)of a Charter Vessel legally marry a man / woman in the coastal waters of Virginia? If so, what are the legal requirements? Special documentation / licenses?

Where can I find additional information?

THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP !

Asked on 2/24/01, 9:38 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Glenn R. Tankersley Regency Legal Clinic
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Re: Marriage performed by Captain of Vessel

Three Virginia Statutes set forth who may perform ceremonies.

20-23. Order authorizing ministers to perform ceremony.

When a minister of any religious denomination shall produce before the circuit court of any county or city in this Commonwealth, or before the judge of such court or before the clerk of such court at any time, proof of his ordination and of his being in regular communion with the religious society of which he is a reputed member, or proof that he holds a local minister's license and is serving as a regularly appointed pastor in his denomination, such court, or the judge thereof, or the clerk of such court at any time, may make an order authorizing such minister to celebrate the rites of matrimony in this Commonwealth. Any order made under this section may be rescinded at any time by the court or by the judge thereof.

(Code 1919, 5079, 5080; 1962, c. 362; 1980, c. 154; 1981, c. 295.)

20-25. Persons other than ministers who may perform rites.

The circuit courts of the Commonwealth, the clerks of which are authorized to issue marriage licenses, shall appoint one or more persons, resident in the county or city for which such court is held, to celebrate the rites of marriage, and upon any person, so appointed, giving bond in the penalty of $500 with surety, shall make a like order as provided in 20-23 authorizing him to celebrate the rites of marriage in the Commonwealth. Any order made under this section may be rescinded at any time by the court or by the judge thereof in vacation.

Any judge or justice of a court of record, any judge of a district court of this Commonwealth or any retired judge or justice may celebrate the rites of marriage either within or without the county or city wherein his court is situated without the necessity of bond or order of authorization.

(Code 1919, 5080; 1938, c. 152; 1981, c. 295; 1981, Sp. Sess., c. 15; 1983, c. 64; 1985, c. 195; 1987, c. 149.)

20-26. Marriage between members of religious society having no minister.

Marriages between persons belonging to any religious society which has no ordained minister, may be solemnized by the persons and in the manner prescribed by and practiced in any such society. One person chosen by the society shall be responsible for completing the certification of marriage in the same manner as a minister or other person authorized to perform marriages; such person chosen by the society for this purpose shall be required to execute a bond in the penalty of $500, with surety.

(Code 1919, 5081; 1968, c. 318; 1981, c. 295.)

Applied in Cramer v. Commonwealth, 214 Va. 561, 202 S.E.2d 911 (1974).

I couldn't find any Virginia statute on marriage at sea. I suggest you consult an admiralty lawyer.

Read more
4/24/01, 2:55 pm

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