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Chapter 01 - Marriage

Chapter 01 - Marriage

42.0101 Requisites of valid marriage.


To enter into a valid marriage contract:

(a) The parties must not be related to each other nearer than the fourth degree of consanguinity.

(b) The male shall be at least 18 years of age and the female at least 14 years of age.

(c) If the female is less than 18 years of age, she must have the consent of one of her parents or her guardian.

(d) Neither of the parties may have a lawful spouse living.

(e) A marriage ceremony must be performed by a duly authorized person as provided in this chapter.

42.0102 Persons who may perform ceremony.


(a) No minister of any Christian religion has authority to solemnize or perform any marriage ceremony without first having registered with the Registrar of Vital Statistics a letter of identity and confirmation of his authority as a minister in the particular church to which he belongs. Any minister performing marriage in violation of this section shall be deemed guilty of an offense against this title.

(b) No marriage shall be invalid for a failure by the minister to register such letter of identity and confirmation of authority; if the minister is, in fact, a duly ordained and confirmed member of the clergy of any Christian religion.

(c) The following are valid and binding marriages:

(1) a marriage performed by a minister of any Christian religion authorized to perform marriages;

(2) a marriage performed by an associate judge, or the Associate Justice or the Chief Justice of American Samoa;

(3) All marriages solemnized before the enactment of this regulation by any minister of any Christian religion, duly appointed or ordained or reputed to be duly appointed or ordained.

(d) No marriage is void by reason only of the same having been celebrated by a person not a duly registered minister if either of the parties to the marriage believed at the time that the person was a duly registered minister.

42.0103 License-Application and forms-Consent of parent or guardian.


(a) Persons wishing to marry shall obtain an application for marriage license from the office of the Registrar of Vital Statistics, which shall be completed and signed by the applicants under oath. Upon payment of the fee of $10, the Registrar of Vital Statistics shall issue to the applicants a marriage license.

(b) The application for marriage license shall be substantially in the following form; one of which shall be completed by each applicant, and his or her parent or guardian:

APPLICATION FOR MARRIAGE LICENSE

I……………………………………, of the Village of……………………………….., American Samoa, being first duly sworn, depose and say: That I am an (American Samoan—other nationality), having been born at…………………… (location of birth) on the……….day of……………. 20….., and that I am... .. years of age; that I am not presently married and that I am not related within the 4th degree of consanguinity to……………………. , the person I propose to marry, and further, that 1 know of no legal impediments to this proposed marriage.

……………………………………………..

(Signature)

Subscribed and sworn to before me this………………………..day of…………………….,20……...

………………………………………………………………..

(Registrar of Vital Statistics,

deputy or a notary public)

CONSENT OF PARENT OR GUARDIAN

I,……………………………………………. , being first duly sworn, depose and say: That I am the (mother—father—guardian) of…………………………………….. , who is…………….. years of age, being born on the………..day of ………… 20…. , and that I do hereby give my permission for…………………………….. to marry.

……………………………………………

(Signature)

Subscribed and sworn to before me this……………………….day of……………………… ,20…….

……………………………….

(Registrar of Vital Statistics.

deputy or a notary public)

(c) The application for marriage license shall be in both the English and Samoan languages.

42.0104 License-Issuance and form.


(a) When the Registrar of Vital Statistics receives an application to marry which complies with the provisions of this chapter, both as to substance and form, he shall, if it appears that the parties are legally competent to marry under the provisions of 42.0101, issue to the parties a license to marry which shall be substantially in the following form:

MARRIAGE LICENSE

I hereby certify that………………………………. of ………………………Village, American Samoa, son of ……………..

(father) and………………. (mother), and……………………………of ……………………..Village, daughter of.…………. (father) and…………………(mother), have made application to marry in accordance with the law, and there appearing no impediment to their marriage, a license to marry each other is hereby granted. Dated this day of……………… ,20.………

…………………………

(Deputy) Registrar

of Vital Statistics

This license expires and is invalid 90 days from the date of issuance.

(b) The marriage license shall be in both the English and the Samoan languages.

42.0105 Marriage ceremony.


(a) At any time not less than 30 or more than 90 days after the issuance of a marriage license, any minister of any Christian religion duly appointed or ordained and duly registered in the office of the Registrar of Vital Statistics, or any Samoan Associate Judge, or the Associate Justice or Chief Justice, may marry the parties.

(b) The presence of at least 2 witnesses is requisite for the due solemnization of a marriage.

(c) The parties to the marriage, the witnesses and the minister, justice or judge shall sign, in triplicate, a certificate substantially in the following form:

CERTIFICATE OF MARRIAGE

I,……………………………….. , duly authorized to solemnize and perform marriages, being a………………. (Minister—Justice—Judge) of the ………………… , (Church or High Court). do hereby certify that I have, on the……………day of……………..20…. . celebrated and solemnized a marriage between……………………..(groom) of…………………..Village, son of ……………….(father) and ………………………(mother), and……………………… (bride) of……………….. Village, daughter of…………………….and……………………..,at……………………..(location), American Samoa.

……………………………….

(Minister—Justice—Judge)

………………………………

Signature of Groom

……………………………..

Signature of Bride

…………………………….

Signature of Witness

…………………………….

Signature of Witness

(d) The 30-day waiting period may be waived for good cause shown by any judge of the High Court upon proper application of the parties in such form as may be prescribed by the court.

42.0106 Copies of certificate-Register of marriages-Use of records.


(a) The minister, justice, or judge shall, immediately after the solemnization of the marriage, deliver one certificate of marriage to the parties to the marriage and shall retain one copy in the church files or in a file maintained by the justice or judge in his office. The third copy shall be transmitted to the Registrar of Vital Statistics within 7 days after the solemnization of the marriage, except that in the case of a marriage in the Manu’a Islands, the time shall be 30 days. No marriage is invalid by reason of the failure of the minister, justice or judge to file the certificate of marriage with the Registrar of Vital Statistics within the prescribed time limitation.

(b) In the event of the failure of the minister, justice or judge performing the ceremony to transmit a copy to the Registrar of Vital Statistics, the Registrar may correct this omission in his records as follows:

(1) upon presentation of one of the 3 original certificates of marriage and the affidavit of one person in attendance at the marriage ceremony:

(2) in the event of the absence of, or inability to produce, one of the original 3 certificates of marriage, the presentation of affidavits of the minister, justice or judge performing the ceremony and one witness to the ceremony is sufficient:

(3) if the minister, justice or judge performing the ceremony is deceased or he cannot be located, the affidavits of 2 witnesses to the wedding ceremony is sufficient;

(4) should the necessary number of witnesses be deceased or not available, then, any time within one year from the date of marriage, the parties may present affidavits from 4 members of the community, outside the second degree of consanguinity, attesting to the fact of a duly solemnized marriage and that the parties have lived as husband and wife since that time. No such proof of marriage may be accepted if either of the parties is no longer living.

(c) After compliance with any one of the 4 conditions set forth above, the Registrar of Vital Statistics may correct the omission in his records by creation of a certificate of late registration of marriage from the proof so furnished and may file this late registration of marriage in his records.

(d) The Registrar of Vital Statistics shall keep a register of all marriages, to be entitled “The Marriage Register”, and shall keep:

(1) records of all licenses issued by him or his deputies;

(2) a copy of marriage certificates transmitted to him;

(3) records supporting a late registration of marriage.

(e) The Registrar of Vital Statistics shall also keep a register of letters of identity and authorization to perform marriages, filed by ministers as required by 42.0102.

(f) An extract from the marriage register signed and certified by the Registrar of Vital Statistics shall be received in all the courts of American Samoa as evidence of the marriage on the date so set forth in the register.

42.0107 Fees-Disposition.


(a) The Registrar of Vital Statistics shall charge $10 for an application and issuance of the marriage license.

(b) A clergyman may charge not more than $10 for the performance of a marriage ceremony.

(c) All fees collected by the Registrar of Vital Statistics in connection with this chapter shall be turned in to the Treasurer of the government pursuant to existing policies and regulations.

42.0108 Violation-Penalty.


Any person who violates any provisions of this chapter or commits any of the following acts shall be fined not more than $50, or imprisoned not more than 2 months, or both:

(1) solemnizes a marriage knowing that either of the parties thereto is not duly qualified to marry;

(2) knowingly solemnizes a marriage contrary to any of the provisions of this chapter;

(3) knowingly fails to transmit to the Registrar of Vital Statistics a copy of the certificate of marriage performed by him;

(4) knowingly fails to retain a copy of the marriage certificate of a marriage celebrated by him, pursuant to 42.0106, in the church records or other records depository;

(5) charges a higher fee, or any fee other than that provided in this chapter, for any marriage ceremony or service;

(6) willfully makes any false statement in order to procure a marriage license for himself or herself or some other person;

(7) makes any false statement knowingly upon an application for marriage license;

(8) knowingly issues a license in violation of any of the provisions of this chapter.