Marriage is a beautiful and exciting moment, but planning a wedding can be complicated, especially if you’re considering tying the knot in a state you don’t live in.
With so many laws, it can be challenging to know where to start. That’s why we’re here to help, providing everything you need to know about getting married in a state you don’t live in.
What You Need to Know About Getting Married in a Different State
Before you start planning your dream wedding, it’s essential to understand the laws involved in getting married in a state you don’t live in. Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind:
1. Residency Requirements
You may need to meet specific residency requirements to get married in a different state. Most states do not have a residency requirement. But some states will only let you get married in their state if you reside there. These requirements vary from state to state, so it’s critical to research the specific rules in the state where you’re planning to get married.
Here are some residency requirements for some popular destination wedding states in the United States:
- Hawaii: You don’t have to reside in Hawaii before the wedding.
- Nevada: No residency requirements. Couples can obtain a marriage license the same day they apply for it.
- Florida: No residency requirements. A couple can obtain a marriage license immediately and get married the same day.
- California: No residency requirements. A couple can obtain a marriage license and get married on the same day.
- New York: No residency requirements. A couple can obtain a marriage license and get married on the same day.
2. Age Requirements
Every state in the United States has a minimum age requirement for marriage. The minimum age to marry without parental consent varies by state but is typically 18.
Some states, however, allow minors to get married with the consent of their parents or a court order.
Here are the minimum age requirements for some popular destination wedding states in the US:
- Hawaii: 18 years old or 16 with written consent from both parents.
- Nevada: 18 years old or 16 with written permission from both parents.
- Florida: 18 years old or 16 with written consent from both parents or a court order.
- California: 18 years old or 17 with written permission from both parents.
- New York: 18 years old, or 14, with written consent from both parents and a court order.
If you plan to marry out of state, each state will require you to present proof of age. This can typically be accomplished with a state-issued I.D. or driver’s license.
3. Marriage License
If you’re planning to get married out of state, you must apply for a marriage license before the wedding. Here are the steps you need to follow to obtain a marriage license:
1. Research the license requirements for the state in which you plan to get married in:
Each state has its own requirements for obtaining a marriage license, such as minimum age, identification, and residency requirements. It’s important to research the specific requirements for the state where you plan to get married.
Check the office’s official website or call the county clerk in the county and state you plan to get married in to obtain these details.
2. Make an appointment
Most county clerk’s offices require an appointment to apply for a marriage license. Check the office’s website or call to schedule an appointment.
Some states offer the option of applying for a marriage license online, while others require you to apply at the county clerk’s office in person.
If an online application is available in your state, you may still need to visit the county clerk’s office to pick up the license, pay the fee, and provide the required documentation and signatures.
In some states, you may also need to complete premarital counseling or a waiting period before your marriage license can be issued.
3. Gather the required documents
You’ll typically need to provide proof of identity and residency, such as a driver’s license or passport and, in some cases, a birth certificate. You may also need proof of previous marriages, such as a divorce decree or death certificate.
Many states have a waiting period for marriages if you are recently divorced. Most states have a 30-day waiting period after a prior divorce before allowing a person to be remarried. If you are recently divorced, you will want to take a copy of your divorce decree.
4. Complete premarital counseling (if required)
Some states require premarital counseling or a waiting period before you can obtain a marriage license.
5. Visit the county clerk’s office
Bring all required documents to your appointment at the county clerk’s office. You and your partner must complete an application and pay a fee. The fees for a marriage license vary by state.
6. Wait for the license
Depending on the state, there may be a waiting period before your marriage license is issued.
7. Get married
Once you have your marriage license, you can proceed with your wedding ceremony. Make sure to have a person authorized to perform weddings (such as a minister, rabbi, or judge) perform the ceremony and sign your marriage license.
8. File the marriage license
After the ceremony, you’ll need to file the signed marriage license with the county clerk’s office in the state where you got married. This is typically done by the person who performed your wedding ceremony.
Does a Marriage License Transfer Back to Your Home State?
A marriage license obtained in one state is not automatically transferred to your home state. A marriage license and a marriage certificate are two different documents related to marriage.
A marriage license is a legal document that allows a couple to get married. It’s usually issued by the county clerk’s office where you plan to get married, establishing that you and your partner meet the legal requirements for marriage in that state.
On the other hand, a marriage certificate is a document that serves as proof of your marriage. The county clerk’s office typically issues it after your wedding ceremony and the signing of your marriage license.
A lawful marriage in any state is valid in all 50 states, even though a marriage license cannot be moved from one state to another.
The marriage license is only valid in the state where it was issued, and it only establishes that you and your partner are legally married in that state.
When you return to your home state after getting married, your marriage will still be recognized in your new state as long as it was legally performed and recognized in the state where you got married.