Marriage license Laws in the state of Massachusetts, here's what you need to know and what documents to bring with you before you apply for a marriage intention application in Massachusetts. We recommend getting this legal aspect of your wedding out of the way about a month before your ceremony wedding date.
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All persons who wish to be married in Massachusetts must have a marriage license issued within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Out-of-State marriage licenses cannot be used in Massachusetts.
The legal age to marry in Massachusetts is 18 (M.G.L. ch. 207, s. 33A). All people who marry in the state must have a marriage license issued in Massachusetts by any city or town clerk (M.G.L. ch. 207, s. 28).
Proper identification is necessary. You may be required to show a certified birth certificate.
Marriage licenses are issued from any Massachusetts city or town hall. To locate a local contact in your city or town, please visit Commonwealth Clerk's. You may also call Citizen Information Service at 617-727-7030 or 800-392-6090 for additional information.
ID Requirement: Picture ID such as a driver's license.
You should know your Social Security numbers.
Residency Requirement: Do not have to be a resident of Massachusetts.
Application Requirement: Both the bride and groom must appear in person at the time of applying.
This requirement is applicable to both residents and non-residents of the Commonwealth. According to Massachusetts law, you must jointly file intentions to marry, and you may do so with the city or town clerk in any community in the state. If a person is in the military, intentions may be filed by either party, providing one is a Massachusetts resident. If a person is incarcerated in a county house of correction or a state correctional facility, intentions may be filed by either party.
If Divorced: You are not required to present a divorce certificate when filing intentions to marry. However, it is extremely important that an individual who has been divorced be certain that his/her divorce is absolute. If you are uncertain as to the absolute date of your divorce, you should contact the court where the divorce was granted. In Massachusetts, a divorce does not become absolute until 90 days after the divorce nisi has been granted, regardless of the grounds for divorce.
Waiting Period: 3 days. Sundays and holidays are included in the three days, but the day the application is made is not. For example, if you apply on Friday, your license will be issued on or after Monday. Check with your town clerk to determine whether you must pick it up in person, or if it can be mailed.
Obtaining a Waiver of the Waiting Period: Yes. According to MGL Ch. 207:30, if both parties are residents, or non-residents, or one of each, and they need to dispense with the three days, they may do so by applying to the judge of a probate or district court to have the license issued without delay, after filing intentions with the clerk. Under extraordinary or emergency circumstances, such as if the death of either party is imminent or the female is nearing the end of her pregnancy, an authorized request by a minister or clergyperson or an attending physician shall suffice and the clerk can issue the certificate without delay.
How Much a Marriage License Cost?
The fee for filing the Intention of Marriage varies from town to town. The state statute stipulates a fee of $4 for the license but it allows cities and towns by a vote of their city councils, boards of selectmen or town meeting, or by a change in the by-laws, to set their own fee.
Medical Certificate: NO.
Please note the procedures and timelines described below.
Medical certificates are still required for all Massachusetts marriage licenses issued before January 28, 2005, whether or not the marriage itself occurs on or after that date.
A couple who will marry on or after January 28, 2005, but files a Notice of Intention to Marry prior to that date, is not required to file a medical certificate, provided that the marriage license itself is not issued until January 28, 2005 or later.
All couples that file a Notice of Intention to Marry on or after January 28, 2005, no longer must obtain a medical certificate.
If you are under 16 years of age, you will need both the written consent of your custodial parent or guardian and the written approval of a judge of the Orphans' Court Division of the Court of Common Pleas.
If you are under 18, pregnant or have a child, and show a certificate from a licensed physician stating you are pregnant or have had a child, the parental consent requirement may be waived.
Solemnization Authority: Yes, it is possible for a non-minister or non-justice of the peace (such as a relative or family friend) to obtain special permission to perform a marriage from the Governor. Call the Governor's office at 617. 727. 5787 to obtain an application for a one-time special appointment to solemnize a marriage. After approval, a $25 fee is paid to the Commissions Division of the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
Same Sex Marriages: Yes, in the Bay State same sex marriages are legal.
Miscellaneous: If either of the parties has arrived as an immigrant from a foreign country within five days, the application may be filed at any time before the marriage, and the certificate shall be issued at any time after the filing.
Officiants: Ordained ministers of the gospel may perform marriages. Before performing marriages, ministers are required to apply for a certificate from the state. For applications visit the Commonwealth of Massachusetts website. You must file a copy of your ordination certificate and a statement from the church saying that you are in good standing. Ministers must keep records of all marriages they perform. Also, ministers must return a certificate of the marriage to the town clerk or registrar who issued the marriage license and to the town clerk of the town where the marriage was performed.
If an out-of-state member of the clergy is to perform the marriage, the clergy person must obtain a Certificate of Authorization from the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth prior to the ceremony. This certificate, which is issued by the Public Records Division of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, is to be attached to the original license and returned to the clerk of the city or town where the license was issued. For further information, contact:
Division of Public Records
Secretary of the Commonwealth
One Ashburton Place, Room 1719
Boston, MA 02108
Officiant for a Day: In Massachusetts, a couple can choose to have a family friend or relative perform their wedding ceremony. In order to become a "Justice of the Peace" for a day, you must fill out an application from the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth. The process takes 4-6 weeks to complete.
After filling out the application and sending it back, you will then receive a letter from the Secretary of Commonwealth granting permission for the person to perform the wedding ceremony. The letter will give you further instructions to complete the process. There is a $25 fee to apply. For complete details and an application, click here.
Notary Publics cannot perform weddings in Massachusetts.
Valid: License is valid for 60 days.
Witnesses: Witnesses are not required.
Please Note: State and county marriage license requirements often change. The above information is for guidance only and should not be regarded as legal advice.
Massachusetts County Clerk's Office
|Adams Town Clerk
|Barnstable Town Hall
|Belmont Town Clerk
|Cambridge City Clerk
|Dedham Town Clerk
|Edgartown Town Clerk
|Fall River City Clerk
Fall River, MA
|Fitchburg City Clerk
| Franklin Town Clerk
|Great Barrington Clerk
Great Barrington, MA
|Lawrence City Clerk
| Lowell City Clerk
|Nantucket Town Clerk
| New Bedford City Clerk
New Bedford, MA
|Northampton City Clerk
North Hampton, MA
|Pittsfield City Clerk
| Plymouth Town Clerk
|Salem City Clerk
| Springfield City Clerk
|Taunton City Clerk
|Worcester City Clerk |
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