How to Get a Marriage License
Be sure to make your wedding official by obtaining the necessary paperwork
By MiShaun Taylor
One of the requirements to get married is that you and your significant other obtain a marriage license. Think about this issue in advance so that you have enough time to take all the proper steps with adequate time before your wedding. Each state has its own requirements for obtaining a marriage license, so take time to find out your state's particular procedures. However, some general tips for obtaining a marriage license can assist you, no matter where you live.
- What You Need to Know
- Some states require you to get your license within a certain time frame (i.e. within a week of your ceremony date). Research the laws regarding when you must apply for a marriage license in your state and county.
- Some counties require you to get your license in person; you may need to plan a trip to your county clerk to do so.
- If you are under age (normally 18), you may need a parent or guardian to sign a consent form before you can obtain a marriage license. Most states also have a minimum age (such as 16), under which they will not grant a license, even with parental consent.
Set a location. The process of obtaining a marriage license depends on where you will be getting married, not the state in which you are living. Decide where the wedding will take place, and then research the particular requirements of that state for obtaining your marriage license. Visit USMarriageLaws.com for rules and regulations in your area.
Gather necessary information. Bring required information to the clerk's office in order to get your license. This information usually includes your driver's license (or another official picture ID) and your birth certificate. If you were married previously, bring proof of divorce/annulment or a death certificate for your previous spouse. Some states even require proof of immunity from or vaccination for certain diseases.
Fill out the marriage license application, which you can obtain from your local marriage bureau or county clerk's office. Some states require you to submit this application in person with your significant other, whereas other states allow you to submit it through the mail.
Pay the application fee (usually between $25 and $100) when you submit the application. Check beforehand to determine acceptable forms of payment -- personal check, cash or money order, or credit card.
Abide by the proper time frame. Determine the amount of time for which the marriage license will be good. Typically the license will be good for two to three months from its issuance date. There also often is a waiting period before the couple can marry -- usually 24 to 72 hours between issuance of the marriage license and the wedding.
Don't forget to bring your marriage license to the wedding and have it signed by your officiant and witnesses. After the ceremony is performed, either the couple or the officiant must submit the completed marriage license to the county for it to be processed.
About the Author
With more than 15 years of writing experience, MiShaun Taylor specializes in wedding-related articles.
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