06/29/2012 01:29 EDT | Updated 06/29/2012 02:19 EDT

Couples Not Married: Hundreds Discover Truth About Weddings


Imagine being married for years and then finding out your union isn't valid.

In a horrible story, hundreds -- and possibly thousands -- of couples in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania were married by a careless district judge who'd didn't legally record their marriage licenses.

Westmoreland County officials discovered this month that couples married between the years 1975 and 1989 by North Huntingdon District Justice Raymond Tubbs may not be officially wed as their marriage licenses are missing.

Officials said the now deceased Tubbs, who was kicked out of office after a ticket-fixing scandal in the late '80s, failed to file many marriage certificates for weddings he officiated. Estimates from the Register of Wills Office are one out of every seven marriages Tubbs did are not legal, as they weren't filed at the county courthouse by him.

The importance of having the marriages legally recorded -- other than the validation of knowing your marriage is 100% official -- is that if no valid marriage license is on file, this can impact social security benefits and insurance benefits, and if your spouse were to die can impact pension benefits. So there will be red tape for couples who don't have this.

And some may never find out they were not legally married.

Watch more in this local report from

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