Marriage License Requirements
If you’re planning to tie the knot in the picturesque state of Arkansas, you’ll need to be well-acquainted with the requirements and procedures for obtaining a marriage license. From the necessary documents to the application process, let’s delve into the essential details that will pave the way for your dream wedding. Here’s your comprehensive guide to understanding marriage license fees in Arkansas.
A Smooth Start: Marriage License Application Process
Gathering Your Documents
Before embarking on the journey of marital bliss, couples in Arkansas must ensure they have the necessary documentation. Both parties involved should be at least 18 years old and must present a valid government-issued identification that displays their correct name and date of birth. If either individual has undergone a name change due to a divorce, a certified copy of the divorce decree must be provided. The first step to your marital adventure is ensuring you have these vital documents at hand.
Every path to matrimony involves a fee, and in Arkansas, the application fee stands at $60.00 (Sixty Dollars). This non-refundable fee accompanies your application for a marriage license. It’s important to note that this fee is a requirement, regardless of whether you choose to use the license or not.
Timely Return of the Marriage License
A marriage license is a precious document that signifies the union of two souls. Whether your wedding plans proceed as scheduled or change course, it’s your responsibility to ensure the marriage license makes its way back to the County Clerk’s office for recording. The timeline for return is within SIXTY (60) days from the date of issuance.
Meeting the Marriage ID Requirement
Valid Forms of Identification
To navigate the path to marital joy, both parties must be 18 years or older and possess one of the following forms of identification:
- State issued I.D.
- Valid Driver’s License
- Indian Card
- Passport, Visa (not expired)
- Military I.D.
- Original Birth Certificate
The Waiting Game: Marriage Waiting Period
The state of Arkansas boasts a lack of waiting period for those eager to unite in matrimony. If both applicants are aged 18 or above, a marriage license can be issued immediately.
A Pause for Consent
However, if a male aged 17 and a female aged 16 or 17 intend to acquire a marriage license with parental consent, they must observe a waiting period of 5 business days. This brief interval serves as a moment of reflection before embarking on the journey of wedded life.
No Residency Requirement: A State of Welcome
A Marriage Oasis
Arkansas opens its arms to couples from near and far. There is no residency requirement, and a marriage license obtained in the state is valid for use anywhere within its borders.
Dealing with Previous Marriages
The Past Informs the Present
For those who’ve walked the path of marriage before, there are a few additional steps to consider. If you were previously married, you’ll need to provide your divorce decree or relevant information such as the date, county, and state of your previous spouse’s passing. If your name has changed, a certified copy of your divorce decree is essential.
Understanding Covenant Marriages
A Unique Choice
Arkansas offers a distinctive option known as a Covenant Marriage. This alternative allows couples to declare their intent to enter a Covenant Marriage during the application for a marriage license. To do so, they must complete a Declaration of Intent to contract a Covenant Marriage. This declaration is accompanied by authorized counseling, emphasizing the responsibilities and nature of marriage. It’s a choice that adds an extra layer of commitment to your marital journey.
Beyond Borders: Proxy Marriages, Cousin Marriages, and Common Law Marriages
Limitations and Liberties
While Arkansas embraces various forms of marital commitment, it does have its boundaries. Proxy marriages, cousin marriages, and common law marriages are not recognized in the state. Couples seeking these alternative paths may need to explore options elsewhere.
Blood Tests and Name Changes
Blood Not Required
Unlike some states, Arkansas does not mandate blood or medical tests for couples seeking marriage licenses. As for changing your name upon marriage, remember that obtaining a marriage license with your new name doesn’t automatically trigger the name change process. For that, you may consider utilizing an online marriage name change kit.
Navigating Age Requirements
Age and Consent
Arkansas has specific guidelines concerning the minimum age for marriage. Males aged 17 and females aged 16-17 can enter into matrimony with parental consent, but a mandatory 5-day waiting period applies. The definition of “Parental Consent” encompasses various scenarios, including custody arrangements, court determinations, and pregnancy.
Officiants, Witnesses, and Expiration
In Arkansas, officiating a wedding carries a certain responsibility. Justices of the Peace and ministers must complete the necessary information on the marriage license. The license itself is valid for sixty (60) days and requires no witnesses. Once the ceremony is complete, the marriage license must be returned to the County Clerk’s office within the specified timeframe.
Preserve the Record
A Matter of Record
Your marriage license marks the beginning of a new chapter, and it’s important to safeguard the record. The Division of Vital Records in Little Rock, Arkansas, is the custodian of marriage records. Should you need a copy of your Certificate of Marriage License, you can find it at:
Division of Vital Records 4815 West Markham Street Little Rock, AR 72205 Ph: 501.661.2726 Fx: 501.663.2832
With this comprehensive guide to marriage license fees in Arkansas, you’re equipped to embark on your journey to wedded bliss. Remember, a marriage license is more than just a piece of paper—it’s a testament to the love and commitment you share. So, as you plan your wedding day, keep in mind that obtaining your marriage license is a meaningful step on your path to forever.
Q1: How much does a marriage license cost in Arkansas? A1: The application fee for a marriage license in Arkansas is $60.00.
Q2: Is there a waiting period for obtaining a marriage license in Arkansas? A2: There is no waiting period for couples aged 18 or above. However, couples with individuals aged 16-17 require a 5-day waiting period with parental consent.
Q3: Can I change my last name on the marriage license in Arkansas? A3: Obtaining a marriage license with your new name does not automatically change your last name. For a name change, you may consider using an online marriage name change kit.
Q4: Are proxy marriages allowed in Arkansas? A4: No, proxy marriages are not allowed in Arkansas.
Q5: How long is a marriage license valid in Arkansas? A5: A marriage license in Arkansas is valid for sixty (60) days from the date of issuance.