SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah divorce attorney who wants to “buy a little goodwill with God” paid for couples who got married at the Salt Lake County offices on Valentine’s Day.
Marco Brown has helped 3,000 couples get divorced over the last decade, but he still believes in marriage, he said. And on the day of love, he wants to help others take that major step.
“It’s just a way to pay back, balance things out a little bit,” he added.
So, Brown sat at the Salt Lake County Clerk’s Office on Valentine’s Day and offered to pay for couples who came in and had their ceremonies in the building. It costs $50 to get a marriage license and $50 to host the ceremony there, Brown explained.
He believes he picked up the tab for about 12 or 13 ceremonies — a total of over $600. And most couples are incredulous when he offers to pay.
“One guy’s like, ‘No, you won’t. … You’re not doing that. Are you doing this?’” Brown recalled. “I make a joke of it. I just say I’m a divorce attorney buying some goodwill with God, and then everybody laughs.”
And he’s not handing out his business cards to the prospective couples.
“Good heavens, no! That would be jerky,” he said.
Brown just enjoys surprising others on their special day, he said, and even stepped in as a witness for one couple whose own witnesses didn’t show.
But why is he doing this on Valentine’s Day?
“Because it’s ironic,” he said. And nobody has yet considered him a bad omen.
Brown had been hoping to do something like this after an attorney friend of his did it in North Carolina and loved it. But this is the first year he’s pulled the trigger, he said.
Though Brown believes in love, he’s a pragmatist at heart. His advice for couples who are thinking about getting married? Wait until you’re at least 20 years old — and don’t be in debt.
“I play statistics. So the statistics are that when you get married before 20, you have a much higher rate of divorce,” he said. “And then, debt just sucks. It creates all sorts of problems in marriage, so don’t have it.”
And he’s learned a few things after 10 years of helping people get divorced.
“I go home every day and hug my wife and tell her that she can’t leave me. (Marriage), it’s just like anything. If you want something really bad, you just have to work at it every day.” he said.
“Go get married. It’s good. People don't get married enough nowadays.”