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Married, single or divorced – defining your marital status is not a prerequisite unless stated by law or public policy writes Villa 88’s Legally Stylish contributor

By law, our legal status defines our connection to the legal system. Determining whether you are a minor or an adult, a citizen or an expatriate, so far seems sensible since the impact on your legal rights and duties is evident. But when the condition of being married or single becomes what a legal status is, something seems seriously wrong. The fact that you should disclose such personal information when you fill ina form at your dentist or an insurance application lacks justifiable grounds as it is subject to change and should not result in any legal liability if you fail to disclose it. While it is important to know that lying about your marital status in a CV or your marriage certificate will have serious legal repercussions, when filling appointments’ forms, it is simply absurd.

In fact, many years ago, I was faced with the same daunting situation when I remarried my husband after a year of our divorce… Yes, the same man, exactly to the day and almost the hour! Divorced at 25 was not exactly something I wished to share with the world so I avoided any mention of it, no matter what, to the extent that I went as far as trying to keep the divorce from the Court Maathoon who got us married the second time. Luckily, I was advised against it by the lawyers in my family due to being in violation of Sharia Law rather than state law. Although the lie should not have necessarily invalidated my marriage, since I was marrying the same man, yet withholding information about how many times you were previously married or how old you are may invalidate the marriage if found in conflict with your official records. Unfortunately, there could also be legal consequences to giving false information on a marriage certificate application which may include being charged with perjury or a misdemeanor.

It is all about the legal repercussions the union, separation or death of a partner will have on your legal status. Marriage is what happens for your legal status to change from single, which requires you to fill in “married” on legal and government forms. In certain countries when you get married, you may choose to take your spouse’s last name, but the mere act of signing a marriage certificate,
does not result in an automatic name change as you will in fact need
to change your name with the relevant authorities. Retaining your
given surname will be less demanding in terms of follow up and administrative requirements and will also relieve you from the exercise of changing your name should you divorce and wish to get rid of the name. One of the most interesting outcomes of marriage, as far as the law is concerned in my view, is that you do not have to testify against your husband in court, in addition to inheriting from them, even if you come to know that you are not in the Will, provided you get yourself good lawyers with valid grounds to challenge it.

There are several advantages to sharing your life with someone. Among them is being listed as a beneficiary or dependent on various health, retirement, life and financial plans. For instance, you may be entitled to your spouse’s healthcare insurance, Social Security, disability benefits, as well as their employee benefits, retirement plan/pensions, life insurance policies, and more. If your spouse dies, you may still be able to collect their life insurance, pension, and other benefits if you were listed as a beneficiary. Marriage is the gold standard, yet only the legal version comes with the guaranteed treasure trove of perks, privileges, rewards, and responsibilities. Public knowledge and social recognition may also be required for access to other intimate places such as their hospital room, or funeral. If you are married officially it does not matter if you are happy or miserable, faithful or philandering, whether you live in the same home as your partner or on different continents. If you have the certificate, and you are not in the process of tearing it up, you are official. Official marriage may be a status
women enjoy engraving on every piece of paper but single people, unmarried, including divorced and widowed, can forget about signing up with their marriage condition, unless it is a prerequisite by law or public policy


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