Despite the fact that state marriage laws differ, all lawful weddings performed in one state must be recognized by all other states. This article provides answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about marriage legal requirements.
Most Commonly Asked Questions
What legal documents are needed for a marriage?
A marriage license must be obtained from your county clerk and a fee must be paid to the clerk. Your marriage license should be approved as long as you and your spouse complete the prerequisites. After that, you can begin your ceremony. Your marriage certificate must be filed with the appropriate recording agency in your county by the officiant. If they don’t, your marriage isn’t invalidated or nullified; it merely makes it more difficult to document.
Are blood tests a prerequisite for marriage?
Many states no longer require premarital physical exams or blood tests, although some still do. Blood testing for venereal diseases are still required, and a few additionally test for rubella, sickle-cell anemia, and tuberculosis. Although HIV/AIDS testing is not required, most states require that applicants for marriage licenses be offered such tests or information on test facilities.
Is it possible for me to marry anybody I want?
Age: To marry in most states, both parties must be at least 18 years old. With parental and/or court authorization, certain states allow minors over a particular age to marry. In order to prevent children from entering predatory marriages, these states frequently prohibit minors from marrying adults who are more than three or four years older.
People who are already married, even if they have a legal separation, cannot remarry until they are legally divorced.
Mental capability: To engage into a contract, both parties must have the mental capacity to do so. Because of mental illness, drugs or alcohol, or other conditions that impair judgment, either party lacks the mental capacity to consent to the marriage.
They can’t be blood relations because they’re unrelated. They can’t always be closer than third cousins. Many states allow first cousins to marry if they are over the age of 50 and can no longer procreate.
Gender: After the momentous Obergefell v. Hodges judgement by the United States Supreme Court in 2015, same-sex marriage became legal in all 50 states. Prior to that decision, same-sex marriage was primarily governed by state law.
What makes a marriage license different from a marriage certificate?
Before you may marry, you must first obtain a marriage license from the county clerk. A marriage certificate is a legal document that establishes your marital status.
Within days, most couples obtain a marriage license, perform their wedding ceremony, and have the officiant file the certificate with the appropriate county office. A certified copy of the marriage certificate will be given to the newlyweds.
The marriage certificate must be signed by the parties, the officiant, and one or two witnesses in most states. This is frequently done immediately following the wedding.
What is the location where I may get a marriage license?
In most cases, you can apply for a marriage license at any county clerk’s office in the state where you want to marry. Some states require you to file an application with the county clerk’s office in the county where you intend to marry. Most states charge a minimal cost, and it normally takes a few days to receive your marriage license.
Your marriage license will usually be valid for 30 days after it is issued. Don’t worry if this happens; you can apply for a new one. Most states, however, require a waiting time between the date of your marriage license issue and the day of your actual wedding. The purpose of the waiting time is to give both parties the opportunity to change their views. For good reason, such as one of the parties being deployed or only arriving in town the day before the wedding, the waiting period can be lifted. There are waiting periods in the following states:
Delaware, Illinois, and South Carolina have a one-day waiting time.
Maryland and New York have a two-day waiting period.
Alaska, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Washington have a three-day waiting time.
Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin have a five-day waiting period.
What if I misplaced my marriage license?
The procedures for obtaining copies of marriage certificates vary by state. Visit the National Center for Health Statistics’ website to find out where you can write, call, fax, or email for the documentation you require in your state. There will almost certainly be a small cost, maybe between $5 and $10.
Is it possible for anyone to officiate a wedding?
No, the county must accredit the officiant. Civil unions, on the other hand, are performed by a judge, justice of the peace, or a court clerk and are not religious. A judge or a court clerk may occasionally grant someone temporary legal permission to perform weddings. Religious weddings are officiated by a priest or other member of the church. Usually, this is a priest, minister, or rabbi. Weddings can be performed by officials designated by Native American tribes, but most weddings are performed by the tribal chief.
Is there anything we need to do after the wedding?
In most states, there are no legal criteria for marriage following the ceremony. Only a few governments demand that the marriage be consummated with sexual contact, although this is not the norm. When the ceremony is over, most states consider the two to be married.
In some states, it is the officiant’s job to ensure that the marriage license is recorded in the county where you were married. Your marriage certificate will usually arrive in the mail a few weeks after your ceremony. You are still considered married even if the officiant fails to file the marriage certificate.
Need Assistance Meeting Marriage Requirements? Consult with a lawyer.
One of the most essential relationships you may enter is marriage. Along with the joy of marrying your partner, you should be informed of the legal rights and obligations that accompany walking down the aisle. If you have questions about marriage requirements, you should speak with a family law expert who can guide you through the process.