Should You Marry Someone From Another State?

When Wisconsinites choose a spouse, there’s just something about those Minnesotans that they find irresistible. Time magazine looked at over 100 million interstate marriages to make the analysis. The analysis also raises the issue of interstate custody.

Do We Marry Local?

Time magazine recently did an analysis of which states were most compatible when it comes to marriages. To figure this out, Time examined data on 116 million “interstate marriages” in which the partners were born in different states.

For people from each state, they looked at the most common home states for their spouses compared to the national average.

While people are generally most likely to marry someone from the same home state as themselves — eat local, and “marry local,” you might say — those who choose a spouse born in a different state don’t tend to drift very far.

To be clear, while Texans are much more likely than most other people to marry a Louisianan, there are still more total marriages between Texans and Californians, since California is such a large state. Whether you’re from California or your spouse is from Texas, if you have a child, this could have an interstate custody issue.

Your Interstate Child

I’ve written on the issue of interstate custody before, and was recently invited to speak at a state-wide presentation. There are two major interstate, uniform acts that have been adopted by almost every state in the U.S. The first, UIFSA, deals with interstate children support. The Second, UCCJEA, deals with custody.

UIFSA is a uniform act drafted by the Uniform Law Commission, and forcibly adopted by all U.S. states by federal law. Historically, multiple orders, issued by different states, created confusion; courts were unsure which orders were to be enforced, and it was easy to reduce, delay and evade enforcement by moving across state lines.

The purpose of UIFSA is to improve and extend the enforcement of duties of support so that once a foreign support order is registered in Florida, it has the same effect as a Florida order.

The UCCJEA, like the UIFSA, is another uniform act drafted by the ULC, and adopted by all U.S. states except Massachusetts. Different states have different approaches to issues related to custody, and inconsistent rulings about custody could create major problems.

The UCCJEA and the UIFSA share common features and concepts, and in places, the two acts have nearly identical provisions. However, they deal with different family law issues (custody and support) which can strongly impact how the two Acts are implemented.

The general purposes of the UCCJEA are: to avoid jurisdictional competition and conflict with other courts in child custody matters; promote cooperation with other courts; insure that a custody decree is rendered in the state which enjoys the superior position to decide what is in the best interest of the child; deter controversies and avoid re-litigation of custody issues; facilitate enforcement of custody decrees; and promote uniformity of the laws governing interstate custody issues.

Idahoans Love Utahans

According to Time, some of these bonds are stronger than others. While Michiganders are about equally likely to pair off with someone from Wisconsin, Ohio or Indiana, people from Utah and Idaho share a deep, mutual connection.

If you were born in Utah, for example, you are 15 times more likely to marry an Idahoan than someone from elsewhere — a bond that may be strengthened by the fact that they have the largest concentrations of Mormons, according to a 2013 Gallup poll.

On the other hand, most connections between states are not mutual. A person from South Dakota has the most disproportionate chance of marrying someone from North Dakota.

However, the North Dakotans have a slightly higher penchant for marrying Minnesotans, as do those from Wisconsin.

Likewise, Mississippi is the soul state for those born in Tennessee, Louisiana and Alabama.

The Time magazine article is available here.