Janeane Garofalo Was Accidentally Married for 20 Years

Posted November 16, 2012 in Your Family & The Law by

Janeane Garofalo (Barry Brecheisen/Invision/AP)

Television producer Rob Cohen was all set to get married to his fiance, Jill Leiderman, when his attorney discovered one small obstacle standing in the way of the wedding: Cohen was already married to Saturday Night Live alum Janeane Garofalo, and had been for 20 years.

It was an accident, the shocked Garofalo admitted when she found out she was hitched.

“We got married drunk in Vegas,” the actress said at a reunion for The Ben Stiller Show, for which Cohen had been a writer. “We dated for a year, and we got married at a drive-through chapel in a cab. [We thought] you have to go down to the courthouse and sign papers and stuff, so who knew?”

The unwitting couple quickly got divorced last Saturday so as to not interfere with Cohen’s real wedding.

“Rob and I got married, for real, which we had to have a notary dissolve not 30 minutes before we got here tonight,” Garofalo said at the reunion. “We were married for 20 years until this evening.”

Yup, those Vegas weddings count, even if you’re drunk. Remember Britney Spears?

New York, like all states, grants no-fault divorces, so breaking up the union shouldn’t have been too difficult. They could also have potentially annulled the marriage under Las Vegas law because it was a “mutual mistake.” Intoxication, in fact, is an enumerated justification for annulment.

The big legal question: Does this mean Cohen and Garofalo have to go back and amend their tax returns for the last 20 years to reflect their married status? Probably not, says Slate. For one thing, the statute of limitations for honest mistakes on tax returns only goes back three years, so they’d be off the hook for the first 17 regardless.

In theory, the IRS could audit the accidental spouses and make them amend their returns for the last three years, but it probably won’t happen. Good thing, since as two high earners, the couple could in theory have to pay at a higher rate.

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