All About Marriage Licenses

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If you are married in the United States, it is safe to say that you had to get a marriage license to make your marriage legal. The marriage license is the most important thing; you do not want to forget this on your special day, or you will not be legally married.

What Is a Marriage License?

A marriage license is a legal document that, once returned, will make your marriage legal and recognized by your state. This is a document that will be signed by both partners of the marriage along with witnesses and an officiant. If your officiant does not sign the license or is not recognized by the state/county, your marriage license will be null. 

Once the marriage license is properly filled out, the newly married couple can return it in person, mail it to the county clerk's office, or delegate the task to the officiant. The marriage license will become void after a certain period if it is not turned in. Check with your state to make sure to avoid a void marriage license. 

How Do You Get a Marriage License?

Most commonly, to obtain a marriage license, you will need to fill out an application with your spouse. Most of this can typically be done online now. However, you will need to go to the county clerk's office or courthouse to sign the application in front of an official who can verify your identity. There will be a fee that will need to be paid to get the license. The amount of this fee will vary depending on your state. 

When Do You Sign the Marriage License?

When you sign your marriage license is completely up to you and your partner. Some couples will incorporate signing the license into the wedding ceremony itself, but most couples will save the signing until after the ceremony is over. The license then needs to be returned to the county clerk's office to receive your marriage certificate. 

What Is a Marriage Certificate?

When you return your marriage license to your county clerk, they will prepare your marriage certificate. These can be picked up from the same place you picked up the marriage license, or they can be mailed to you. A marriage certificate is important as it is proof that your marriage is legal. This is even more important if one or both partners changed their names during the marriage. Copies of the marriage certificate may be needed to change your name on certain legal documents or accounts. 

Contact a professional for more information about marriage licenses