General Question

sinny's avatar

Are you legally married with just a marriage license?

Asked by sinny (4points) September 25th, 2018

marriage law

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

6 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Yes, with some exceptions.

Once you have a signed marriage license you’re legally married. The only exception I can think of is if that license isn’t accepted in the state or country you live in, but you’re still legally married where the license was issued.

For instance, gay marriage wasn’t always legal in America, so two men who were legally married in the Netherlands, were not legally married in the US, but a straight couple was considered legally married in the US.

Some countries may not even acknowledge straight marriages reciprocally, but I think most do.

Edit: once you complete the marriage license (all necessary signatures, necessary signatures vary by state in America, but all states acknowledge the other states’ marriage certificates) it gets filed and then you will be issued a marriage certificate.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The license is just the permit to allow you to marry. The marriage itself requires a procedure with an official presiding, and usually witnesses. In some states, the license itself also serves as the document attesting the marriage once it has been signed (notarized) by the presiding official.

JLeslie's avatar

^^Not all states require an officiant (unless it has changed) but I think they all require witnesses. I don’t know how it is in other countries, I’m just commenting regarding states in the US.

YARNLADY's avatar

Yes, it may vary in some states, but the marriage is official when a license signed by the couple and witness(es) and filed with the state. If you sign it and keep it in your possession, it is not official.

Strauss's avatar

If I remember correctly, our officiant was prohibited by his church from performing the ceremony without the license. The county which issued the license required it to be filed within 3 days of the ceremony.

Of course that was 30 years ago in Austin (Travis County) Texas.

More recently, my wife, ordained in the Church of Universal Life, was asked to officiate for a wedding here in Colorado. The license was required, although we noticed that the only additional requirements for the marriage to take place is having the form signed by those being married and one (or maybe two) witnesses. There was a place for the officiant to sign, but it was marked “optional”.

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