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Couple discovers marriage isn't legal 48 years later

Almost half a century of accidental shacking up.

By Kristin Wong Dec 28, 2012 6:07PM
For those who believe that marriage is just a piece of paper, this could be a good argument.
Just two years short of their golden anniversary, Norma and Bob Clark discovered their marriage was never legally recognized.
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Bob met Norma years ago, while they were students at Santa Fe State. Bob was studying to get his master's in sociology.
"I thought she was kind of cute," he said.
The two then married on August 29, 1964 in San Mateo County, California. But when they recently sent $20 to the Hall of Records to retrieve a copy of their marriage certificate, there was nothing to be found. Norma told the Redlands Daily Facts:
"I couldn't find it, and couldn't find it for a reason, because it wasn't there."
 
Apparently, the pastor who married the couple never turned in their marriage license to the county record office. Bob said he thought a trip to the county would clear things up, but his explanation wasn't enough.
"I just went in there thinking I could just do it, and she said, 'No, no, you have to have witnesses,'" Clark said. "Well, you know most people at our wedding are dead. If we had waited a couple more years, we would have been in trouble."
Since they had family in town for the holidays, the Clarks decided to give it another try. They remarried this month, and Norma's brother and sister served as witnesses in the wedding—again. The couple's son, Alexander, was also there to witness his parents exchange their vows. He said of the situation:
"My sister and I, we just kind of joked that we didn't have to throw them a 50th anniversary party anymore."
The silver lining? The Clarks made it nearly fifty years and were still excited to vow their lives together. They did, however, have a bit of advice for other married couples: make sure you actually have your marriage license.
 

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Photo: Credit: Courtesy photo

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86Comments
Dec 29, 2012 3:18AM
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that is why they got along so good they were never married !
Dec 29, 2012 3:08AM
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Year ago, a friend of mine joked that you should have to renew your wedding license every five years, like your drivers license. 
Dec 29, 2012 3:08AM
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I wish I could talk with this couple, this same thing happen to my husband and I. We found out last year after 22 years of marriage that we were never really married. I sure hope it wasn't that same person that married us!!!!!. You just don't know how it feels to find out that your special day isn't legal. Our story was also in the Palm Springs, Desert Sun News Paper in January 2012. 
Dec 29, 2012 3:02AM
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Actually, the government may owe them......
Dec 29, 2012 2:59AM
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hmmmm maybe that would work for me lol
Dec 29, 2012 2:58AM
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HAPPY ANNIVERSARY...YOU MADE IT NO MATTER WHAT !
Dec 29, 2012 2:41AM
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This is not unusual.  It happened to us.  The priest who married us did not forward the marriage to the city - Philadelphia.  the difference, though,is that we had a marriage license, but the actual ceremony was never documented,
Dec 29, 2012 2:30AM
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Happy Anniversary...hope you have many many more...God Bless...
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