POV: You are getting married to the love of your life. Your wedding is located in the dreamy state of Montana. Snow is falling. Mountains in the distance. Love is in the air. But… you aren’t there. Neither is your future spouse. What?? How can that be? Yes, it is possible to have a legally valid wedding and not be there. BUT–only in a very small set of circumstances (more on this below). This is the concept of double proxy marriage. Where two people get married by proxy, and both partners appoint a person to stand in for them at their own wedding. This unique form of marriage allows couples to tie the knot even when they are not physically located in the United States. And it’s only possible in Montana. Let’s delve deeper into this intriguing phenomenon.
How are Double Proxy Marriages Legal?
How can this possibly be legal? Well, thanks to a little quirky law in the great state of Montana, any member of the Armed Forces may participate in a double proxy marriage. (And residents of Montana may also benefit from this law). As stated in Mont. Code. Section 40-1-301, both a resident of Montana and/or a member of the Armed Forces may participate in a double proxy marriage. If you are not a resident of Montana or not a member of the Armed Forces, unfortunately, you cannot get married by double proxy.
You may be wondering, well, if it’s only possible in Montana, is this double proxy marriage valid in other states? For example, let’s say you are a resident of Illinois, and your partner is overseas for his military duties. You get married by double proxy in Montana. Is your marriage valid in Illinois, where you live? The answer is yes! Thanks to the laws of individual states and the full faith and credit clause of the US Constitution, marriages conducted in one state are recognized by all other states, provided they were properly solemnized in accordance with the laws of the respective state.
Advantages of Double Proxy Military Marriage
Why would a member of the Armed Forces want to get a double proxy marriage? There are tons of benefits; let’s discuss them below.
One of the primary benefits of double proxy military marriage is its convenience for servicemen and women stationed abroad. By eliminating the need for physical presence, couples can formalize their union without disrupting military duties.
Military marriage benefits
A double proxy marriage in Montana is a legally recognized union, granting you the same rights and privileges as any traditionally married couple. For example, getting married by proxy opens up military benefits such as survivor benefits, Basic Housing Allowance (BAH), VA home loans, life insurance, and more.
Getting married by proxy is not only convenient and opens up the same military marriage benefits as any other type of marriage, but it is also affordable! You can get this “wedding” done for just $700 at Armed Forced Proxy Marriages in Big Fork, Montana.
Double Proxy Marriage for Immigration Purposes
We spoke with Immigration Attorney Julia Funke, who explained:
“For immigration purposes, a proxy marriage is only valid if it was consummated after the proxy ceremony, which is generally proven by showing the couple was in the same physical location together sometime after the marriage took place. Consummation prior to the ceremony is not enough, so even something like having children together before the marriage will not be sufficient to show consummation. To prove consummation after the proxy ceremony, you can submit a simple affidavit or personal statement attesting to the fact the relationship was consummated, supported by evidence like plane tickets, hotel reservations, mortgage/lease if subsequently living together, etc. You can also submit affidavits from friends and family who witnessed the proxy marriage and the in-person meeting after the marriage.”
Real-Life Story of a Double Proxy Military Marriage
As covered by NBC, one military couple, Drew and Michelle, located in a war zone together, decided to take advantage of Montana’s double proxy marriage law. They fell in love while stationed overseas together. Michelle (a combat medic) and Drew (a personal security officer) fell in love while stationed at an air base in Afghanistan, where military officiants cannot perform weddings due to safety concerns being in an active war zone. The couple’s main concern was, “What if something terrible were to happen to one of us?” They would not receive the same treatment as a married couple despite being in a committed relationship. For instance, they would not be alerted of any issues or be able to see one another if they were in critical condition. This is what led Drew and Michelle to search online to see what their options were. They subsequently found out about Montana’s double proxy marriage law, which allowed them to get married in Montana…without ever stepping foot there. Drew and Michelle appointed their proxies (who were complete strangers), filled out the necessary paperwork, and “got married.” Their proxies signed their marriage certificates on their behalf, and bam! They had a valid marriage. Drew and Michelle lived happily ever after as a married couple, thanks to Montana!
As you can probably imagine, COVID ramped up the use of double proxy marriages by almost 4x the amount. For instance, one Montana County Clerk, Peg Allison, told Daily Interlake that before COVID, they were seeing about 1,200 double proxy marriages per year. After COVID, that number climbed up to about 4,300 in 2021. Due to travel bans and strict military lockdowns, the need for remote marriages grew tremendously. Military couples needed to get married to take advantage of military benefits to help take care of the children and spouse financially while away.
In conclusion, double proxy military marriage offers a practical solution for couples separated by military service or geographical distance. By leveraging proxies and adhering to legal requirements in Montana, military couples can formalize their commitment without being in the same physical location. This phenomenon helps military couples gain access to military marriage benefits when deployed or otherwise unable to get married.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Double Proxy Military Marriages
This is a totally unique phenomenon, so it’s no wonder you’ve still got questions!
Q: Are double proxy military marriages legally recognized everywhere?
A: Yes, as long as you executed the double proxy marriage correctly in Montana, it is recognized in every other state.
Q: Can anyone opt for a double proxy military marriage, or are there eligibility criteria?
A: No. Only residents of Montana or members of the Armed Forces may take advantage of double proxy weddings.
Q: How much does a double proxy wedding cost?
A: At Armed Forces Proxy Marriages, you can get this done for $700 flat!
Q: I live in a state that does not allow proxy marriages. Will a double proxy marriage in Montana be valid in my state?
A: Yes, as long as you legally execute the double proxy marriage according to Montana law, your marriage will be recognized in your state.
Q: Can I use Montana’s double proxy marriage law to get married to a non-US citizen?
A: Yes, as long as one person in the couple is a Montana resident or a member of the Armed Forces! Keep in mind, for immigration purposes, a double proxy marriage is only valid if the marriage is consummated after the proxy ceremony.
Nicole Sheehey is the Head of Legal Content at HelloPrenup, and an Illinois licensed attorney. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to prenuptial agreements. Nicole has Juris Doctor from John Marshall Law School. She has a deep understanding of the legal and financial implications of prenuptial agreements, and enjoys writing and collaborating with other attorneys on the nuances of the law. Nicole is passionate about helping couples locate the information they need when it comes to prenuptial agreements. You can reach Nicole here: [email protected]