Marriage License Requirements
Are wedding bells ringing in your future? If you’re planning to tie the knot in the beautiful state of Florida, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of marriage license fees. From premarital courses to waiting periods, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know before saying “I do” in the Sunshine State.
Your wedding day is a momentous occasion, and understanding the marriage license process is a crucial step toward making it official. In the state of Florida, obtaining a marriage license involves more than just paperwork; it requires knowledge of the fees, requirements, and procedures. Let’s delve into the details so you can embark on your marital journey with confidence.
Marriage License Basics
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of marriage license fees, let’s cover some foundational aspects. To apply for a marriage license in Florida, there are specific criteria you must meet:
- Both applicants must be at least 18 years old to apply without parental consent.
- If either applicant is between 16 and 18 years old, they need a birth certificate, proof of identification, and notarized written consent from parents or guardians.
- Applicants under 16 require a determination from a County Court Judge.
- The legal age for marriage without parental consent is 18 years.
- With parental consent, the legal age for marriage is 16 years.
Blood Test Not Required
Unlike some states, Florida does not require a blood test as part of the marriage license application process.
Marriage License Fees
Now that you understand the basic requirements, let’s explore the financial aspect of obtaining a marriage license in Florida.
Standard Fee: $93.50
When applying for a marriage license, a fee of $93.50 is required. This fee is applicable unless a premarital course is completed.
Reduced Fee with Premarital Course: $61.00
Good news for those willing to invest time in premarital education! If both applicants complete a premarital course conducted by a registered premarital provider and provide a valid certificate of completion, the application fee is reduced to $61.00.
To receive the fee reduction, a printed copy of the premarital course completion certificate must be presented to the Clerk of the Circuit Court during the application process.
Premarital Course Discount
Taking a premarital course not only enriches your relationship but also comes with a financial incentive.
Eligibility for the Discount
Both Florida residents and non-residents can be eligible for the premarital course discount. However, there are specific criteria for each group:
- Florida Residents: If both parties are Florida residents and have attended a 4-hour pre-marital course, they can waive the three-day waiting period and enjoy a $32.50 discount on the marriage license fee.
- Non-Florida Residents: Non-residents can also receive the $32.50 discount by completing an approved marriage preparation course no more than one year before applying for the license. This course is beneficial for both residents and non-residents, as it can expedite the process and lead to cost savings.
How to Obtain the Discount
Both parties must attend the premarital course together. The course provider will issue a certificate of completion, which you should present during the marriage license application.
Marriage Residency Requirement
Florida opens its arms to couples from all over, whether you’re a resident or not.
You don’t need to be a Florida resident to apply for a marriage license in Clay County. This welcoming policy makes it convenient for couples planning destination weddings in Florida.
If you’ve been previously married, certain documentation is necessary when applying for a marriage license. Specifically:
- Date of divorce or date of spouse’s death must be provided.
- If the divorce or death occurred within the past 30 days, a certified copy of the divorce decree or death certificate is required.
Photo Identification and Social Security Numbers
When applying for a marriage license, proper identification is crucial.
- Photo identification (such as a driver’s license, state ID card, passport, or I-94 card) is required.
- Social Security numbers must be provided, but the actual cards are not necessary.
Marriage Waiting Period
The waiting period for obtaining a marriage license in Florida varies based on residency and completion of a premarital course.
Florida residents typically face a 3-day waiting period. However, this waiting period can be waived if both parties attend a 4-hour premarital course. Proof of course completion, including the number of hours attended, is necessary for this exemption.
Non-Florida residents do not have a waiting period. However, they are encouraged to read the Family Law Handbook, which is required for all applicants.
Additionally, both residents and non-residents can enjoy a $32.50 discount on the marriage license fee by completing a premarital course.
Marriage Officiants and Witnesses
In Florida, the officiant and witness requirements are straightforward.
- Any ordained or licensed clergy, notary publics, and justices of the peace can officiate a marriage.
- Witnesses are not required for the marriage ceremony.
Expiration Date of Marriage License
It’s important to keep track of the expiration date of your marriage license. A marriage license in Florida is valid for 60 days after issuance. Make sure you schedule and conduct the marriage ceremony within this timeframe.
Name Change After Marriage
Obtaining a marriage license with your new name is just the first step in the name change process. If you decide to change your last name, additional steps are required. An online marriage name change kit can guide you through this process seamlessly.
Getting married in Florida involves more than just love and commitment; it involves understanding the legal and procedural aspects of obtaining a marriage license. From eligibility requirements to premarital course discounts, this guide has covered the essential information you need to make informed decisions for your upcoming nuptials. Remember, while marriage is a union of hearts, it’s also a legal contract, so ensure you follow the guidelines to create a strong foundation for your lifelong journey together.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can non-residents of Florida receive the premarital course discount? Yes, both Florida residents and non-residents can receive the premarital course discount by completing an approved course.
- Is there a waiting period for Florida residents who have taken a premarital course? No, Florida residents who complete a premarital course can waive the three-day waiting period.
- Are witnesses required for a marriage ceremony in Florida? No, witnesses are not required for a marriage ceremony in Florida.
- How long is a marriage license valid in Florida? A marriage license in Florida is valid for 60 days after issuance.
- Where can I obtain a copy of my marriage certificate? You can obtain a copy of your marriage certificate from the Department of Children and Families, Division of Vital Statistics.