Marriage Records Definition
A marriage record is a public record that certifies that a couple has been married. This can be a husband and wife or a domestic partnership. Marriage records are considered vital records that are an official recorded document issued by the government. These records are used to identification by the government and are in a class of public record that also include divorce records, birth and death records.
The Marriage Process
When the government records a couple’s marriage, a marriage record is produced. There are several steps required before a marriage record can be created:
1. A couple must apply for and obtain a marriage license. This is typically done at the local courthouse in the jurisdiction where the ceremony will take place. You will need to bring proof of identity. In some states, a blood test may be required prior to the issuance of license. Typically, a small fee will be involved in obtaining a marriage license.
2. At the marriage ceremony, an official (whether a minister, justice of the peace, or other authorized individual) signs the marriage license. This official essential acts as a legal witness to the ceremony and performs the ceremony under the authority of the state.
3. The license must then be submitted to the clerk of the county or city where the ceremony took place. Typically, the official who performed your ceremony will do this for you.
4. Next, the clerk will file the marriage license. At this point, the marriage becomes official and a matter of public record, and the so-called “marriage record” is created.
5. Finally, a copy of the record will be mailed to the married couple at the address on file.
What is in a Marriage Record
The content of a marriage record varies from state to state, but it typically includes the following information:
1. The full name of both parties to the marriage.
2. The town or city, county, and state where each party to the marriage was born.
3. The date, time, and location where the marriage ceremony was performed.
4. The previous marital status of both parties to the marriage (i.e. divorced, widowed, or unmarried).
5. A license number.
How To Obtain Marriage Records
At some point, you may need to obtain a certified copy of your marriage record in order to conduct the business of life (i.e. to change your name, to apply for a driver’s license in a new state after marriage, or to prove you are married in order to receive certain benefits). Only a party to the marriage, an authorized party, or a child, parent, or sibling may obtain a certified copy of the marriage record. Certified copies are official documents and typically contain a raised seal. You can request a marriage record through the clerk’s office, either in person, by mail, or, often these days, by using a government website. You may have to pay a nominal fee in order to obtain the record. If you don’t need a certified marriage records copy then you can use an online public records repository like SearchMachine. With a simple name search you can lookup anyone’s marriage records in just moments. See below for more information