In the McDougall published opinion, the Virginia Court of Appeals affirms a determination that parties are not married when they “solemnized” before obtaining a marriage license, and did not solemnize after obtaining the license. The opinion is straightforward. Given the unusual facts, it is unlikely to be cited often.
There are two unusual aspects:
First, although the marriage is ultimately deemed void, during the pendency of the action the putative wife receives $300,000.00 in temporary support and $300,000.00 in attorney fees (out of $500,000.00 claimed) that she is not required to reimburse.
Second, the opinion comes less than 90 days after the historic U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, establishing a 14th Amendment right to same-sex marriage. It is ironic to me that in the shadow of that monumental expansion of marriage eligibility, the court should write a 30-page opinion explaining why an opposite-sex couple seeking to marry failed to do so.