Not every marriage needs wedding bells. Some just need the "chirp chirp" of an incoming Skype call.
It may not sound romantic, but in some parts of American society, marriages over the Internet video-calling service Skype have become more commonplace. For example, certain immigrant communities are using Skype as a bridge between spouses who may have never met in person, reports The New York Times.
But before you kiss your webcam bride, here are five probing legal questions about Skype weddings:
1. Are They Legal?
Yes and no. A marriage where both parties are not present before an officiating civil servant or clergy person is not an option in most states.
However, according to The Blaze, "proxy marriages" are available in four states: California, Colorado, Texas, and Montana. But even in these states, not just any person can apply for a Skype wedding.
2. Who Is Eligible for a Skype Marriage?
In states which allow it, members of the U.S. military who are stationed overseas are allowed to tie the knot via Skype only with special permission from that state.
In California, for example, overseas military men and women looking to marry over Skype would need to give power of attorney to a representative, who would then be present with their spouses during the officiating of the marriage.
3. Does Skype Marriages Work for Immigration Purposes?
Many couples might seek to use Skype marriages as a way to get their new spouse a green card. According to the Times, as long as the marriage is legal (either overseas or in the state in which it is performed), the marriage should be recognized for immigration purposes.
Of course, a Skype-married couple will still have to go through the green card marriage interview like anyone else. It's possible that immigration officials may suspect fraud in cases where the parties were married via Skype.
4. Who Officiates a Skype Wedding?
As long as the law of your state is followed, a Skype marriage can be performed by either a state official or a member of the clergy.
5. Will Skype Marriages Be Accepted in Every State?
Maybe not. Professor Adam Candeub of Michigan State University's College of Law explains that "[t]here are problems with will-nilly allowing anyone around the world to marry," reports the Times. It may be a gamble whether your "legal" marriage via Skype is considered legal in every state.
Don't leave your marriage to chance. If you're considering a Skype wedding, it may be wise to consult an experienced family law attorney near you.