"If we ever decide to divorce, I guess we’ll have to do it twice"

Are you a newcomer planning to get married in Sweden? The bureaucracy on all sides might freak you out, if Jennifer Claywood's experience is anything to go by.

So, two weddings means twice the fun. Right?

So, two weddings means twice the fun. Right?

Foto: Photo by Mitchell Orr on Unsplash

Engelska2024-07-01 09:00
Det här är en krönika. Åsikterna i texten är skribentens egna.

My husband and I were married in Skellefteå in December 2016. But we ended up having to marry again. 

Before the Swedish government would allow us to wed the first time, they wanted a document from the United States showing that I was not married to anyone else. 

Federal marriage documents for everyday citizens? Not a thing in the US. States handle all that. But Skatteverket absolutely had to have it, even if it didn’t exist. 

So I found out that I could go to St. John’s, the tiny county where I lived in Florida, where they could print and sign a document that said there was no record of me getting married. In that specific county. There are 67 counties in Florida. In the entire country? 3,143.

I got my one slip of paper from one little county and hoped Skatteverket would accept it. They did.

After marriage, I had to change my name. 

I did this at a social security office in Florida. 

They wanted a marriage certificate. 

I presented a personbevis.

Amazingly, they accepted this document in place of a marriage license for my legal name change to Jennifer Claywoood. 

In the summer of 2018, 18 months after we were married in Sweden, we had to get married again. In the United States. 

You see, I had a ticket from the US to Sweden for my permanent move. It was in my new name. But my passport was in my previous surname. 

Months before travel, I sent my passport, along with a bunch of documents, to the passport office in Florida to change my name, so I could leave the country.

While my husband was in Florida with me, the passport office notified me that it would not change my last name without a marriage certificate. 

So we went to a county courthouse, talked to someone in marriage licenses who told us we had to go to another department, who told us we had to go straight back to marriage licenses. 

We ended up in front of the same lady who had previously told us to leave. I was in tears. It was a mere matter of weeks before I needed a passport to travel. 

So the marriage license lady gave us the number of a lady who married us three days later. And to issue the marriage license, she made me say “I, Jennifer Claywood, promise that I am not married to anyone else…”

We got our marriage certificate, and I got my new passport mere days before my flight. 

So if we ever decide to divorce, I guess we’ll have to do it twice?

This is a column and the views are the author's own. 

This column was originally published at norran.se/English, the English part off norran.se.