MIAMI -- An appeals court has invalidated the marriage of Cecelia Kleiman, 37, and Isaac Woginiak, 68, because the groom was dead at the time of the courtroom ceremony.
Woginiak, a Venezuelan businessman, first married Kleiman, 37, of Miami Beach in a Jewish ceremony performed by Rabbi Meyer Abramowitz in January 1987.
Woginiak died of a heart attack March 10, 1987.
But the couple did not have a marriage license when they exchanged vows because to obtain one, he would have had to provide a certified copy of his divorce decree from his first wife in Venezuela. Woginiak never got around to getting it.
'That's the only time I've ever done a marriage without the couple getting a license,' Abramowitz said Wednesday.
He said the couple had more than 100 guests coming so he didn't want to call it off because of a 'technicality.'
After her husband died, Kleiman went to court to be certified as Woginiak's wife. Dade County Circuit Judge George Orr performed the marriage posthumously and had a court clerk sign for the groom.
Then the groom's three sons found out and contested the marriage, which the 3rd District Court of Appeal ruled this week was illegal. Kleiman is upset that the sons are trying to deny her a widow's share to the estate, valued 'in excess of $100,000.'
'They just want all his money,' Kleiman said. 'He told me he was going to make me his queen, and now I have nothing.'