Marriage Records Online

What is a marriage record compared to a marriage certificate?

A marriage record only provides a record that a marriage has been solemnized; it does not give any more details. A marriage certificate is the proof of marriage. A marriage record cannot be used in place of a marriage certificate. A marriage certificate can be used for change of name, insurance claims and estate claims.


How do I get a marriage record?

Marriage records are available offline and online. Online, it can be accessed from various third-party websites. The service may be paid or free. Offline, it can be accessed from the county clerk’s office by visiting the agency or contacting them through mail.


Be sure to check the state laws before seeking the records, as some states only allow the husband, parents, children or sibling, besides the attorneys, to access marriage records. Also, details given in the record differ from state to state depending on the protection policies of the state.


The information available in the marriage record is the name, date of birth of the bride and groom with the place and time of marriage. Some states allow the marriage license to be visible in the records, while some states just allow the filing number.



What information is available in the record?

There are two kind of marriage records; certified and uncertified.


  1. 1. Uncertified marriage records are available to general pubic and usually carry an imprint stating it’s only an informational record.
  2. 2. A certified marriage record bears a government seal on it and is used for all legal purposes and to get marital benefits. It is not given to the general public. It can only be given to the bride or groom, their parents, siblings or children or the holder of an authorization letter obtained from the married parties.



Where can I find a marriage license?

To get a marriage license, you must visit the Vital Records Unit of the area you are getting married in. The license allows you to undertake any type of legal ceremony for the purpose of marriage.


Before applying for the license, be sure to do your homework and start by checking the state laws. Since the license is a form of permission, there are naturally categories of non-permissibility as well, such as:



  • – The United States of America does not permit a person with severe developmental problems to get married due to the inability to provide informed consent.
  • – The age for marriage in most states in the country is 18 years. In some states, people below the age of 18 years are allowed to get married with parental consent or with the consent of a judge.
  • – Most states prohibit marriage between immediate family members like sibling, parents and children or grand parents and children. However, marriage between first cousins is allowed. In some states, there are conditions like inability to reproduce to be considered to marry a first cousin.



What are the documents that you need to obtain a marriage license?

In order to obtain a marriage certificate, you will need the following documents:


  • – A government issued/certified identification cared like the driver’s license.
  • – Birth certificates.
  • – The social security number.
  • – The decree or the final order of your divorce, showing the end of a previous marriage.


People, who have these documents in a different language, are expected to have a certified translated English copy of the documents with the originals. It is not mandatory to change your name after marriage. However, if you wish to change your name, it is best to do it while applying for the license. Also, keep the waiting period in mind while applying for the license.



The procedure of applying for a marriage license

Some counties allow you to apply for the license online. However, you will still have to visit the county clerk’s office to show the original documents. Both the groom and the bride to be are expected to visit the office together. Some states allow one party to be absent under certain conditions and through some additional procedures.


You will have to give personal information like the legal name of both parties. In case of name change, after mother’s second marriage, provide the name before marriage as well. You will also have to provide the date and place of birth of the bride and groom, social security numbers, parents name, divorce decree and the date of the divorce order to mark the end of the previous marriage and the name of the person expected to officiate the ceremony. You will have to pay a fee of $25 to $90, depending on the state you are in.



How can one get a marriage certificate?

After the marriage is officiated, the bride and groom are supposed to sign the marriage license with one or two witnesses and the person who officiated the marriage. After the signatures have been procured, the person officiating the marriage will file the license and in a few days a marriage certificate will be provided.


Care must be taken to ensure that the license is filed within the stipulated time period. If this is not done, it may lead to the marriage being deemed invalid, and a new marriage license will have to be filed. It is also possible to get a copy of the marriage certificate online in some counties. Some third party websites also provide this service for a fee.

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