How cagey is Nicholas being about his 4-day marriage?
You will no doubt have seen the recent news stories about Nicholas Cage’s fourth wedding, this time to makeup artist Erika Koike.
Nicholas was caught on video applying for a marriage license at a Clark Count House Marriage License Bureau in downtown Las Vegas on Saturday. He appeared to be very ‘out of it’ and speculators thought he was drunk.
Cage was allegedly making such a scene that he and Erika were taken into a side room and left brandishing papers. He was caught shouting ‘she is going to take all of my money!’ and screaming that Erika’s ‘ex-boyfriend is a drug dealer’. Erika reportedly told him that she ‘never asked [him] to do this – seemingly meaning get married.
Many of the news stories are incorrectly stating that Nicholas is now filing for divorce. It appears, however, that he has in fact issued court proceedings to file for annulment.
The law in Las Vegas is very different to that in England and Wales. If Nicholas had the legal basis to be able to start his case in the jurisdiction of England and Wales (i.e. because he or Erika had some sort of connection here), he would potentially need to file a petition for nullity, which is based on there being a fundamental problem with the marriage or the capacity of either himself or Erika.
The steps Nicholas would need to take would very much depend on the status of his marriage. What might appear to be a marriage can potentially be:
A valid marriage is of course the most common. This is where a couple have knowingly and willingly entered into the marriage and complied with all of the relevant legal and religious requirements (if applicable) to constitute a marriage. If the marriage were to break down, the natural next step would be divorce.
A void marriage is when, although there has been some resemblance of a marriage at some stage, the courts treat it as never having taken place due to there being some fundamental flaw. Examples include one or both parties being under the valid age (16 with parental consent, 18 without) or one or both parties already being married or in a civil partnership with another.
If a decree of nullity for a void marriage is declared, financial, pension and property orders are still available. Children born into ‘the marriage’ will still be deemed legitimate and either party may still be able to claim against the other’s estate.
There are several factors which may cause a marriage to be deemed ‘voidable’. This is where the marriage exists unless and until one of certain grounds is established. These include; non-consummation due to incapacity or wilful refusal, no valid consent and lack of mental capacity.
The financial claims noted above are also still available in these circumstances.
A non-marriage would only apply if the couple had undertaken a ceremony that, in no way, constituted a marriage and so there are no legal consequences if it breaks down.
But what about Nick?
From the news stories, it looks as though Nick might be applying for a similar decree to a decree of nullity in England and Wales. Sky News has reported this morning that Nick is arguing that he was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the ceremony and therefore he is questioning his own ability to validly consent to go through with the marriage. Time will tell whether the court finds in his favour, or whether Nick will have to divorce a fourth wife; and whatever the route taken, what the financial consequences of this would be.