Marriage is essentially making a lifelong commitment to your partner but in order to make it legal in eyes of your state, one has to do more than just take their vows.
What is a marriage certificate?
A marriage certificate is an official document verifying that the couple mentioned on the certificate has had a legal marriage. Before the marriage certificate, comes the marriage license; a government document which gives the couple authorization to marry.
Why is a marriage certificate needed?
Married couples are often advised to keep at least two copies of their marriage certificate, one for personal documentation and the other for proof of marriage. This certificate plays quite a vital role in a couple’s life such as
- If either one of them plans to change their name, then they must need the certified marriage certificate as well as birth certificate and an official ID card to get the amendments made.
- If one of them wishes to claim health insurance or any health benefits, most insurance companies require a marriage certificate
- If the couple decides to file for joint taxes, loan or mortgage they will have to show their marriage certificate to prove their marriage.
How to apply for a marriage certificate?
It’s clear that in order to get a marriage certificate a marriage license may also be required according to the country’s law. The laws may vary in terms of fees, waiting duration, documents required, religion etc. Obtaining the certificate is a multi-step process for a couple;
The couple needs to decide the date and venue of the wedding because they need to apply for the marriage license to the county’s clerk where the wedding will be held.
Also, the expiration time and waiting period of the license varies throughout the global, knowing the date and the venue will help prepare for the license accordingly.
The most essential step is to make an appointment with the county’s clerk with all the proper documentation ready. The documents required may differ according to the different jurisdictions but below are the most common requirements
- An official form of ID like a driver’s license, passport and/or birth certificate
- Parents details; Birth names, birth dates, etc
- A witness ( Not applicable in all countries)
- Certificate of Divorce, Death or Annulment if either one of them has been married before
- Company of the parent(s) if either of them is below 18
- A certain amount of fee has to be paid according to the state the wedding is being held
Once identity is proven and documents are approved, the couple is issued their marriage license according to the waiting duration of that country. Now the couple is allowed to get married and is not yet married.
Now that the couple has received their marriage license, signatures are needed to be collected. Yet again the requirement for signing the license may differ from country to country, these are the most common requirements:
- The couple needs to sign the license in front of the witnesses and the officiant after the ceremony.
- The officiant is a person who officiates the wedding, They can be either a minister, priest, rabbi, judge etc.
- Two witnesses, they can be anybody from the couple’s parents to siblings to friends, the condition is that they should be sane and should witness the couple signing the marriage license.
- At this moment the final responsibility is all upon the officiant, once the couple has signed the license after the ceremony, the officiant is expected to file the certificate with the county clerk and the license in some cases becomes the Marriage Certificate, and in other cases, an individual Marriage Certificate is prepared.
- Once the certificate is then processed, it is ready to be collected either by fax, email, or another visit to the County clerk.