TN 60 (08-23)

GN 00305.030 Presumption of Ceremonial Marriage

A. Policy — presumption of ceremonial marriage

When a ceremonial marriage is alleged, accompanied by cohabitation and repute, a presumption arises that there was, in fact, such a marriage. Apply the presumption of ceremonial marriage only when neither preferred nor secondary proof of marriage can be obtained. The presumption cannot be applied when a deemed marriage is involved.

The presumption of ceremonial marriage is strong, especially where supporting evidence shows that the parties have lived together as a married couple for many years, and it can be rebutted only by convincing evidence to the contrary. The absence of a record in the place where the marriage is alleged to have occurred will not in itself defeat the presumption.

B. Procedure — presumption of ceremonial marriage

1. Development

  1. a. 

    Explain the failure to get the marriage record;

  2. b. 

    Develop supporting evidence;

  3. c. 

    Evaluate all the information;

  4. d. 

    If the evidence does not show the relationship of a married couple, get other evidence, which considered together, will reasonably support a finding of marital relationship. (See GN 00305.030B.2.b.); and

  5. e. 

    Make a determination.

2. Documentation

a. Evidence of a marriage

In addition to getting the information discussed in GN 00305.025B.1., the following evidence may support a presumption of a marriage:

  • Excerpts from naturalization certificates, deeds, immigration records, insurance policies, or passports which indicate the parties as a married couple;

  • Records which show a marital relationship such as business, employment, bank, fraternal, school, labor, church, or other records;

  • Purchase agreements, contracts, or leases executed by both parties, letters to both parties, or letters from one party to the other indicating a marital relationship.

b. Evidence of a spousal relationship

  • Automobile titles made out jointly in the names of the claimant and the worker;

  • Wills naming the other party as a spouse;

  • Any other evidence indicating a spousal relationship.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
GN 00305.030 - Presumption of Ceremonial Marriage - 08/09/2023
Batch run: 08/09/2023