All You Need to Know About Marriage Licenses
Getting married is an exciting time with lots to do and think about. However, you don’t want to forget the marriage license; it’s what makes your union legal. A marriage license is also essential when you want to change your name.
Obtaining your marriage license
To satisfy the marriage laws in your state, you will first need to get a marriage license. The marriage license is like an application to marry, and you must have your date, place and time of the ceremony set.
You can visit the town clerk’s office where you live to pick up the marriage license application. You then need to fill it out with your spouse-to-be. In some cases, you will need to show up together to pick up the marriage license.
Be sure you bring your driver’s license or passport and social security card to verify your identity. If you have been married before, you need to bring your divorce papers or a death certificate.
You may also need to pay a fee, and in many towns, there is a waiting period. So if your wedding is coming up soon, you will want to find out how long you have to wait to get your license.
It is also important to check how long your marriage license is good for.
Some are only good for a few weeks and others last for a year. Timing is essential when applying for your license. You also need to decide when you fill out the marriage license if you want to change your name or not.
The ceremony and after the ceremony
Bring your marriage license to your wedding ceremony and give it to your pastor, priest or officiate. They will fill out their section of the marriage license and sign it. Both you and your spouse will need to sign it too. Some counties require one or more witnesses, and they must also sign the license.
In most cases, it is your officiate’s responsibility to file the marriage license with the town clerk, and rare cases, you may have to do it. Don’t forget this step.
You usually have a short window of time to submit the completed marriage license for filing. Once you file your marriage license, you are officially, and legally married. It is always a good idea to call and confirm that the town clerk received it.
Receiving your marriage certificate
After the officiate files your marriage license, within a few days or weeks, the county clerk will mail you a copy of your marriage certificate. In some towns, you may have to visit to pick it up.
The marriage certificate is your official copy. You can put it in your wedding album, but you should also consider ordering a few extra, certified copies. They are cheap to purchase, but they will come in handy as you change over your name and official paperwork.
Sometimes the copy you receive is only a keepsake (not legal) version. However, you can always get additional certified copies of your marriage certificate online pretty easily.
Why it’s important to obtain your marriage license
Marriage records and their details vary from state to state. If you neglect to apply for a marriage license before getting married, in the eyes of the law, you are not actually married. It is crucially important not to miss this step.
Even further, be sure to file it appropriately after your ceremony so that again, you are legally wed.
Reasons you’ll need your marriage certificate
There are dozens of reasons why you need a copy of your marriage certificate once you are married. First, if you changed your name, you will need to send a copy to credit card companies, banks, the social security administration, and other places so your name can be updated. You also need a copy for the IRS and insurance purposes.
Whenever you are doing official business where you need to prove your identity or that you are married, you need a copy of your marriage certificate.
Planning and executing the perfect wedding can be thrilling, but make sure you take care of the proper paperwork also to ensure it is legal.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.