We hoped to get married before we left Little Rock , but realized after the first mediation and divorce hearing that Steve’s divorce was not going to be a reasonable negotiation between reasonable adults.
Steve was in Alabama for yet another hearing when out of blue I got this text:
“The divorce is done, start planning a wedding!”
Well it was done, but not done. It had been read into the record. But the attorneys had to get paperwork done, language had to be agreed to, and then the judge had to sign it. I had not been impressed with the efficiency of the court system in Alabama, and I sure didn’t think it was going to improve just because we had an agreement.
Steve and I would have been happy going to a justice of the peace. But being part of our wedding was a big deal to Keely. And once she told her friends, it became a big deal to my “other kids”. So we decided to do a small ceremony at our house, followed by a casual party. The only problem was, Keely was booked on a flight for Little Rock on June 8. So we needed to plan the wedding for the weekend before, or reschedule her flight. While it was possible the paperwork could get done in time for June 1, that would mean that the attorneys and judge would have to be quick and efficient. I had no expectation of that happening.
Once I found out that Colorado allows a couple to officiate at their own wedding, the decision was easy. We would do our own ceremony and party on Saturday June 1. If the divorce wasn’t final, no big deal. We would do the legal paperwork whenever it came in.
June 1 we had our ceremony and party.
Tuesday June 4 the divorce papers were signed in Alabama.
Now this is where it gets funny.
You have to understand that when Steve gets his mind set on something, he gets tunnel vision. And his mind was set that we were going to get married ASAP after the divorce decree was signed.
So he called me on Tuesday, June 4 and said:
“I’ve got the divorce decree, and I’m printing it out. I’ll come by the house at 4PM, you and Keely be ready, and we will go into Canon City to get the marriage license done. They close at 5PM”
Now of course this was not going to be easy and straightforward. Of course the State of Alabama was going to throw a wrench in the works. Alabama is one of the few states in the country that thinks that adults can’t make up their minds about getting a divorce without a little extra help from the State. The decree said that “neither party could remarry for a period of 60 days” I gotta tell you, I almost had a heart attack when I saw that language in the draft decree. But we did some online research, and talked to an attorney here in Colorado. Basically that only applies to the parties that are living in Alabama. Since Steve could prove he had lived in Colorado for three years, we should be home free. But of course we could run into a problem at the county courthouse. So Steve made a copy of all the online legal opinions and had them with him when we went to the courthouse.
We walked in, and the nice lady said “how can I help you?”
“We need to get a marriage license.”
“Great! Just come over here to this computer and fill some stuff out, then I’ll ask you some questions and we will get you taken care of.”
We filled in the stuff on the computer. Name, address, social security number kind of stuff.
Then the clerk came over to finish up the process.
“Have you been married before?”
“What is the date of your divorce?”
“several years ago, here is the date, judge and court in Little Rock, AR”
So she wrote all that information down.
“Have you been married before?”
“Date of divorce?”
“Yep, today. As of about two hours ago. And here is a copy of the decree.”
You can imagine the dumbfounded look on her face.
She turned and looked at this older lady sitting at the desk behind her.
“He just got divorced today. Can we do that?”
The older lady didn’t even look up.
So she took the copy of the decree to the copy machine. Steve and I looked at each other, wondering if she would notice item number 2 “neither party shall remarry for a period of 60 days”
I could tell when she saw it. She stopped and read it. Looked at us. Read it again.
Walked over to the older lady
“This says he can’t remarry for 60 days”
I spoke up
“That is in Alabama. Here are legal opinions that basically say that Colorado doesn’t give a damn about what Alabama says”.
She looked at the older lady
“We don’t care”
Big grin on Steve’s face.
We didn’t even have to give her the legal opinion paperwork.
So she brought the certificate over to us.
I told her we were going to be the officiants. She instructed us on where to put what name. I asked her if we could just sign everything there so that we didn’t have to come back into town.
“You can’t sign it here at the counter but you can go to that table out there, sign it, and bring it back here”
Which we did
We were married.
The next morning I picked up our marriage license and started the process of changing my name.
So that’s the story of the longest quickie marriage. It took three and a half years for Steve to get a divorce. And two hours for us to get married after the divorce paperwork was done.