Having a marriage certificate is the best way of proving that you are married to someone. However, it isn't the only way of doing that. Here are other alternative proofs you can use if you don't have a marriage certificate:
Witnesses, as long as they are credible and unbiased, are crucial to your proof of marriage. Very few people marry in secret and keep the secret for the rest of their married life. If you are like many people, then your neighbors, church members, work colleagues, family members, friends and other people in your life know that you are married. Get all these people to testify on your behalf to prove your marriage.
Photographs, as long as they haven't been edited in any way, will provide a powerful proof of your union. Photographs of you and your spouse, during family gatherings, during company retreats for couples, and photos with your kids will go a long way in establishing your marriage. This is especially true if the photos were taken over an extended period.
Proof of Joint Ownership
Spouses tend to own things as a unit, and you can use proof of such joint ownerships to prove your relationship. For example, a joint deed to a house, a jointly held business, a car in both of your names and similar things can help.
Evidence of Family Life
Evidence of your life as a married couple can come in different ways. Did you take family vacations, share hotel rooms, attend religious meetings as a family or send joint postcards? These are some of the things you can use to prove your marriage. If you can get the plane tickets, the hotel bookings, and witnesses, you will be well on your way to proving your marriage.
Evidence in Estate Plans
Lastly, you can use your spouse's estate plans to prove that you were married to them. Maybe they have named you (their spouse) as the main beneficiary in their life insurance, executor in their estate plan or manager of their trust funds. Another example is if your spouse gave you their durable power of attorney. In all of these cases, the validity of your marriage will be clear to everybody else.
Note that the more evidence you have, the easier it will be to prove your marriage. Talk to a family attorney, discuss your situation and life and let them help you select the evidence you can use to prove your marriage.
For more information on family law in your area, check out a company like Reagan, Melton, & Delaney LLP.