What constitutes as a marriage ceremony varies by state, but there are certain elements that Ohio and all other states recognize as binding. Adherence to these rituals is important should the day come when the marriage dissolves and, specifically, should one ex pursue spousal support. Although the comedian denies he and his ex took part in a marriage ceremony, a judge has ruled that Ron White’s marriage was valid and that his ex, Margo Rey, can request spousal support.

On Oct. 13, 2013, White and Rey sent invitations for at least 300 guests, vows were exchanged in front of a minister, they gave each other rings, they were pronounced man and wife, and the news was broadcast to media. When their union ended and Rey sought spousal support in 2017, White claimed the two were never married because Rey did not sign the prenuptial agreement he had presented prior to the day of their wedding. He maintains their union was a common-law marriage and therefore not subject to a determination of spousal support.

The judge in the case ruled that, to anyone who observed the celebrations that day, the two were legally married. The fact that White did not intend it to be a binding ceremony was moot, as he did nothing to change the perception of the guests in attendance or even his fans who learned about the ceremony through the news outlets. He also allowed the perception to go on for nearly four years before denying the marriage was legal.

Most couples are certain about the legal state of their marriage. Should there be a question, consulting an attorney who understands the regulations set forth by the state of Ohio can answer any questions and put minds at ease. Should it be best to end the marriage, the attorney will be able to advise on the pursuit of spousal support.