Marriage License Requirements
Your wedding day is a milestone you’ll cherish forever, and finding the right wedding officiant is crucial to ensure that your ceremony is as beautiful and meaningful as your love story. Arkansas, with its charming landscapes and warm hospitality, provides the perfect backdrop for your special day. In this guide, we’ll explore the essential aspects of Arkansas wedding officiants and everything you need to know to make your wedding dreams come true.
Your journey towards a blissful married life begins with choosing the right officiant. Arkansas offers a diverse range of options, ensuring that your ceremony reflects your unique style and preferences. Let’s delve into the details to ensure your wedding day is a true celebration of your love.
Marriage License and Application
Before saying “I do,” obtaining a marriage license is a vital step. Both parties must appear in person at the County Clerk’s office to apply. Here’s what you need to know:
Eligibility and Identification
For a marriage license application, both parties must be 18 years or older and present valid government-issued identification, reflecting their correct names and dates of birth. If there has been a name change due to divorce, a certified copy of the divorce decree is required.
Name Change Considerations
If you wish to change your last name after marriage, obtaining a marriage license with your new name on it is just the first step. You’ll need to follow additional legal procedures to ensure your name change is complete.
Application Fee and Return
The application fee for a marriage license is $60.00. Once you have your marriage license, it must be returned to the County Clerk’s office within sixty (60) days from the date of issuance, whether used or unused.
Arkansas has straightforward marriage requirements to make your journey to wedded bliss smoother:
Age and Identification
Both parties must be 18 years or older. Acceptable forms of identification include state-issued IDs, valid driver’s licenses, Indian cards, passports, visas (not expired), military IDs, and original birth certificates.
There is no waiting period for couples aged 18 and over. However, if one party is 17 and the other 16 or 17, a waiting period of 5 business days is required, with parental consent.
You do not need to be a resident of Arkansas to obtain a marriage license, and the license is valid anywhere in the state.
If you’ve been previously married, you’ll need to provide your divorce decree or information about the date, county, and state of your previous spouse’s death. A certified copy of your divorce decree is required if your name has changed.
Marriage License Fees and Options
Standard Marriage License
The standard marriage license fee in Arkansas is $60.00, payable in cash. Other payment methods may be available; it’s advisable to call ahead for guidance.
Arkansas offers the option of a Covenant Marriage, where couples declare their intent to choose this type of marriage. It involves authorized counseling and additional steps, ensuring a deeper commitment.
Officiants and Ceremonies
In Arkansas, Justices of the Peace and ministers can solemnize marriages. Ministers must have their credentials recorded in an Arkansas county. The minister is not responsible for returning the license after the ceremony; the applicants must do so within sixty (60) days.
Covenant Marriage Ceremony
Couples opting for a Covenant Marriage must fulfill specific requirements, including authorized counseling provided by qualified individuals such as priests, ministers, licensed counselors, and more.
Proxy marriages are not allowed in Arkansas. Both parties must be present to obtain a marriage license.
Cousin marriages are not permitted in Arkansas.
Common Law Marriages
Arkansas does not recognize common law marriages.
Marriage Blood Test
No blood or medical tests are required for marriage in Arkansas.
Name Change after Marriage
Obtaining a marriage license with your new name does not automatically change your name. You may need to follow additional steps to change your name legally.
Marriage Age Requirements and Consent
Marriage Age Requirements
Males aged 17 and females aged 16-17 may marry with parental consent, but a mandatory 5-day waiting period applies.
“Parental consent” is defined for various circumstances, including both parents’ consent, custodial parent’s consent, court-appointed guardianship, and specific situations involving pregnancy.
Marriage Witnesses and Expiration
No witnesses are required for marriages in Arkansas.
Expiration of Marriage License
The marriage license is valid for sixty (60) days and can be used anywhere in the state. It must be returned to the County Clerk’s office where you applied.
Obtaining a Copy of the Marriage Certificate
For a copy of your marriage certificate, contact the Division of Vital Records in Little Rock, Arkansas. This certificate is essential for legal documentation and name change procedures.
In conclusion, Arkansas offers a warm and welcoming environment for couples seeking a memorable wedding experience. With knowledgeable officiants, straightforward requirements, and a range of options, your journey to marital bliss begins smoothly. Cherish every moment of your wedding day, and remember that your love story is as unique as the beautiful Arkansas landscapes.
- Can non-residents of Arkansas get married in the state?Yes, you do not need to be a resident of Arkansas to obtain a marriage license. The license can be used anywhere within the state.
- What is a Covenant Marriage?A Covenant Marriage is an option in Arkansas that involves a deeper commitment and authorized counseling. Couples declare their intent to choose this type of marriage, and it comes with additional requirements.
- Are proxy marriages allowed in Arkansas?No, proxy marriages are not permitted in Arkansas. Both parties must be present to obtain a marriage license.
- Is there a waiting period for getting married in Arkansas?There is no waiting period for couples aged 18 and over. However, couples with one party aged 17 and the other 16 or 17 must fulfill a waiting period of 5 business days with parental consent.
- Do I need a blood test to get married in Arkansas?No, Arkansas does not require a blood test for couples to get married.
- How long is the marriage license valid for?The marriage license is valid for sixty (60) days. After that period, it must be returned to the County Clerk’s office where you first applied.