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Published On: Fri, Dec 12th, 2014

Utah Supreme Court: Janetta Gardiner ‘can marry’ dead boyfriend, John Vanderwerff

The Utah Supreme Court says two people can get married even if one of them is dead. The high court ruled Janetta Gardiner can  marry her boyfriend of three years under common law marriage guidelines, even though he is deceased.

John Vanderwerff, 78, died without any children in 2010, and named Gardiner in his will. Four of his cousins argue the relationship didn’t fit the definition of a common-law marriage. A judge agreed she didn’t properly inform his estate of the union and tossed the marriage declaration.

“Where a petitioner seeks a posthumous determination of an unsolemnized marriage, he or she must serve process upon the estate of the deceased. In this case, Ms. Gardiner waived service on behalf of the estate as the personal representative of Mr. Vanderwerff,” the court said.

Now the state Supreme Court overturned that decision in an opinion, ruling that Gardiner was in control of the estate at the time and waived the requirement. The high court reinstated the posthumous marriage.

The ruling sounds much more stange than a battle over “common law marriage” but after the Supreme Court’s ruling on DOMA, gay marriage, the court has little standing to prevent anyone from marrying anyone, even if they are not alive.

Beetlejuice dead wedding corpse getting married photo

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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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