For most of us, the story of going to Las Vegas for a vacation, bachelor or bachelorette party, or even just a work-related event, and ending up married after a wild night of drinking is just a silly movie plot. However, for a select group, this silly story becomes a very serious reality.
Why does this happen? And more importantly, what should you do if it happens to you?
Why Does It Happen?
One of the reasons the story of ending up married in Vegas is so prevalent is because there are wedding chapels everywhere you can think of. Casinos and hotels? Check. Restaurants? Yup. And for those interested in the quickest possible wedding, there is the Drive-Thru Wedding, available in three classy and expedient package deals.
The sheer number of venues available to get married leaves a lot of doors open (pun intended) for impetuous and possibly inebriated couples to make a questionable decision in a very short amount of time.
When you add in the carefree and “throw caution to the wind” atmosphere that Las Vegas heavily promotes and encourages, you end up with a lot of people who do exactly that. Most of them them end up with a good story and a bad hangover. A few end up spending the night in jail, and a few others end up with a new husband or wife.
If you somehow complete all the above, consider writing a movie script and moving to Hollywood.
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What To Do Next
Assuming your Vegas wedding was, shall we say, unintended, then the best course of action is probably to get a marriage annulment as quickly as possible. The caveat is, “we got drunk and made a mistake” is actually not considered solid legal grounds for an annulment.
In fact, to get a Vegas wedding annulled, you’ll need to prove at least one of the following:
- A) You married a close blood relative.
- B) You married someone underage without the consent of a parent or legal guardian.
- C) One spouse fraudulently obtained consent to marry from the other.
- D) One spouse was mentally incompetent or unable to understand what they were consenting to.
- E) At the time the marriage took place, one spouse was legally married to another person.
If option A, B, C, or E is true – you likely have a much larger problem to deal with, and an annulment is only part of the solution.
Option D – one spouse was mentally incompetent or unable to understand what he or she was consenting to – is probably the best route to plan for if you get drunk and wake up married in Las Vegas.
How Long Does An Annulment Take?
If both spouses want an annulment, and both are willing to sign all the requisite paperwork, an annulment can take as little as a few days to complete. This process is fairly straightforward and usually will not require either party to hire an attorney.
If one spouse does not want the marriage annulled, then it will take considerably longer and both spouses will likely want to procure legal representation.
Keep in mind that it’s best to file for an annulment as quickly as possible. After a certain period of time, roughly 3-6 months, a judge will be less likely to grant an annulment and require a couple to get an actual divorce.