Robot marriage. iPhone divorce.

May 17, 2010

Can a robot solemnize your marriage? Unclear. Evan Brown of Internet Cases referenced this video from Mashable where a robot performs the service in (where else?)  Japan.  Evan Brown states:

I expected the [Illinois] statute to be phrased in a way that would at least strongly imply that the ceremony has to be solemnized by a person. But I’m not sure it’s totally clear.

Corpus Juris Secundum puts it this way:

Statutes usually provide that certain persons shall have authority to solemnize marriage, and where the ceremony is performed by one not authorized it is void, …

55 C.J.S. Marriage § 31

Ending a marriage is another story.  According to a number of news stories, a Dallas attorney developed a divorce app which helps clients determine cost and documents necessary to complete a divorce.
Virtual Law Offices: The future of these kinds of virtual legal services is starting to get serious consideration by state bars.  New Jersey’s bona-fide office rule prohibits virtual offices.  See 2010 WL 1829019.  North Carolina seems to have taken a more balance approach: See 2005 NC Eth. Op 10 and more recently, the North Carolina Proposed Formal Ethics Opinion Number 7 dealing with ‘cloud computing.’  See the Social Media Law Student article.
WestlawNext Query: can a robot solemnize a marriage?