BY Michelle Garcia
September 04 2009 10:25 AM ET
A straight Mormon couple in Utah faced the state supreme court to evaluate the validity of their marriage.
and Ina Johnson had filed for divorce after a 35-year relationship in
which they shared insurance policies and joint tax filings, according
to the Deseret News.
However, during divorce proceedings it was revealed that they were never actually married. Since they split in 2001, Ina Jo hnson claims that she is still owed alimony, while Neldon counters she is ineligible because their marriage was never valid. Court papers show they claimed to be married in Arizona in 1964, and then had their marriage blessed at a Mormon temple in Manti, Utah, in 1965.
According to the report, Mormons who are civilly married typically will later go to an LDS temple to take part in a religious ceremony. But when the Johnsons went for their wedding service they apparently weren't required to show a marriage license, and went through the ceremony under the guise that they were already married, attorney Denver Snuffer said in the article.
The court is now considering the rights of the court to rule on marriages that are not actually legal by state law.
Neldon said the couple believed they had a common-law marriage due to the length of their relationship, but their attorneys realized they might not because Ina was only 15 when they claimed to be married. She would not have been old enough to give consent to such a union.