How to Make a Marriage Official

By Dennis Masino

Marriage ceremonies end with the person officiating proclaiming the bride and groom to be husband and wife. However, if the person who performed the ceremony fails to send the proper paperwork to the local government clerk’s office, the marriage is not official and won't become so until the paperwork has been properly executed and filed.

Licensing

Rules concerning marriage are established by the laws of each state, but marriage licenses are issued by local county clerks. In some states, the marriage ceremony can only be performed in the county where the license was issued, but in other states, the ceremony can be performed anywhere within the state. Depending on the law, the county clerk gives the prospective bride and groom either a license or a license and marriage certificate.

Ceremony

In general, the ceremony does not have to be of any particular type. The parties are free to do as much or as little as they wish, but it must be presided over by someone authorized to do so by state law. The other restriction is that it be held before the marriage license expires, which is usually 60 days from the date it was issued.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Officiant

Each state determines who may preside at marriage ceremonies within its borders. Generally, members of the clergy, active and retired judges, and certain public officials, such as mayors, are authorized to preside at the ceremony. Special temporary authorization licenses can be obtain for an officiant who is not a resident of the state in which the ceremony is to be performed.

Filing

The person presiding at the marriage ceremony is responsible for filling in the date, time and location of the ceremony on the marriage license or certificate, depending on which document the county clerk wants returned. The person must also add the names of the witnesses to the ceremony. Most states require at least two witnesses. Some states require these witnesses to also sign the license or certificate. Once completed, the document is returned for filing in the office of the county clerk that issued it. The marriage is official only when the document is filed.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
Conditions for Marriage Annulment in North Carolina
 

References

Related articles

How to Change a Name After Marriage in North Carolina

Many women traditionally assume the surname of their husbands after marriage. If you reside in North Carolina, the state provides a simple and straightforward process to legally adopt your husband's last name as your own. After the state's legal process has been completed, you must still notify other agencies, organizations and individuals that will continue to identify and address you under your maiden name.

Louisiana Annulment Statute

If a marriage does not meet the requirements of Louisiana law, the marriage may be null and void. With an annulment, it is essentially as if the marriage never existed. Divorce relief, such as alimony and child support, is only awarded if the couple actually and reasonably believed the marriage was valid.

What Is the Process for an Annulment in the State of New Hampshire?

The process of filing for an annulment in New Hampshire is similar to the process of filing for divorce. You'll need to petition a county court for an annulment, state the grounds for the annulment, and prove that your particular circumstances qualify for an annulment under state law. If you are granted the annulment, the marriage is treated as legally invalid; in other words, as if it never existed. Divorce, on the other hand, terminates a legally valid marriage once the divorce decree is signed by the judge

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help. Wills & Trusts

Related articles

How to Change a Name After a Marriage in Michigan

In Michigan, residents and non-residents can apply for a marriage license in a county clerk’s office if they fulfill ...

The Steps to Get Legally Married in Miami, Florida

Chapter 741 of the Florida Statutes governs marriages within the state. You don’t have to be a resident to marry in ...

What Is Colorado's Annulment Law?

In Colorado, a Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage, commonly known as an annulment, terminates a marriage. An ...

How Soon After I Get Divorced Can I Get Married in the State of New Hampshire?

New Hampshire's domestic relations statutes govern divorces throughout the state and give guidance regarding ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED