Do I need to get a marriage license to get married in Massachusetts?
Yes, all couples need to get a marriage license from a Town or City Clerk before they can be legally married. While certain aspects of the licensing process are determined by state law, the actual application process and requirements depend on where you apply for your license. A Massachusetts marriage license is good throughout the state, regardless of the city or town you obtained it from.
|CLICK THE LINK TO YOUR CITY BELOW TO APPLY FOR A MARRIAGE LICENSE
The links below will take you to the county website where the city is located. Not all counties have forms on their site and might only list a contact and phone number.
What is the general process for getting a marriage license?
Both you and your fiance must appear together at the City or Town Clerk’s office to file your Marriage Intention application. This requirement applies to Massachusetts residents and those from out of state who are traveling to Massachusetts to get married. You may apply anywhere in the state for your license, and do not need to apply in the town where you reside or where the wedding will take place.
What type of information is required for the Marriage Intention application?
While the actual application may change depending on the town you are applying in, usually you will have to provide your full names, dates of birth, places of birth, and social security numbers. You are also required to present suitable ID to confirm your identity and age, such as a driver’s license or passport. Some places have specific requirements for providing proof of age. For example, in Boston anyone under the age of 24 must present a passport or certified birth certificate to prove their age. It is best to check with the City or Town Clerk’s office where you will be filing your application to find out any special requirements they may have.
Are there any special requirements if this is not my first marriage?
If you were previously married and that marriage ended through divorce, you must be sure that the divorce is final. In Massachusetts, a divorce is not considered final until 90 days after the divorce is granted, regardless of the grounds for the divorce. You do not need to present any documentation of your divorce when you file your application, but if your divorce is not final under Massachusetts law and you go ahead and remarry, there may be a question to the legality of your second marriage.
There are no special requirements for widows or widowers when filing the application, but you may need to report the date of death of your former spouse on the license application.
When should we apply for the license?
Massachusetts has a mandatory three day waiting period for after the license is granted but before you can legally marry. This waiting period can be waived only by a judge. Therefore, unless there are extenuating circumstances that would qualify you and your fiance for a waiver, you need to apply for the license at least three days before the wedding. In addition to the waiting period, the license expires 60 days after it is issued, including the three day waiting period. You must marry within that timeframe or else reapply for a new license after your current license expires.
Who may perform the actual wedding ceremony?
Ministers, rabbis, and Justices of the Peace who reside in the state may legally perform wedding ceremonies in Massachusetts. Out of state clergy can also perform the ceremony, but must first receive special permission from the Secretary of State in order to do so legally.