Can a Marriage be Prevented in Florida? We often get questions about whether the Fundamental Right to Marry Extends beyond Incapacity?
The state constitution of Florida offers every citizen basic fundamental rights. One of the most important of these rights is a Florida resident’s fundamental right to marry. The right to marry in Florida is strong and has grown ever stronger recently due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s holding that same-sex marriage is a right.
However, this right to marry in Florida is not without its limits. Under the current state laws, an incapacitated person cannot marry without court approval. When a person is deemed incapacitated by a court, he or she loses the ability to contract with others. As unromantic as it sounds, marriage is a contract between two people. Two people cannot get married if one of the persons to the marriage no longer has the ability to enter into a contract.
If an incapacitated person marries then the marriage may not be valid. So what is a valid marriage? According to the court in Goldman v. Dithrich, 179 So. 715 (Fla. 1938), “To constitute a valid marriage, the marital contract must be voluntarily entered into in good faith for the purposes actuating such contracts, the parties must be legally eligible to make the contract, and their status must be such that the union will not be contrary to public policy or obnoxious to the prevailing social mores.”