Marriage License Requirements
Are you considering tying the knot in Arkansas? Whether you’re planning a grand wedding celebration or a simple vow renewal ceremony, understanding the legal requirements for obtaining a marriage license is essential. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through all the information you need to know about marriage license fees, application procedures, identification requirements, waiting periods, and more. Let’s dive right in!
The Basics of Obtaining a Marriage License
Before you embark on your journey as a married couple, you need to ensure that your legal foundation is solid. Here’s an overview of what you need to do:
Both parties involved in the marriage must be 18 years or older and must present a valid government-issued identification that displays their correct names and dates of birth. If either party has changed their name due to a divorce, they should also bring a certified copy of their divorce decree.
A non-refundable application fee of $60.00 is required to apply for a marriage license in Arkansas. This fee is payable in cash, and you may want to call ahead to inquire about other acceptable methods of payment.
Returning the License
Once you’ve received your marriage license, it’s your responsibility to return it to the County Clerk’s office within sixty (60) days from the date of issuance, whether it’s used or unused.
To establish your eligibility for marriage in Arkansas, you need to provide valid identification. Here are the accepted forms of identification:
- State-issued I.D.
- Valid driver’s license
- Indian card
- Passport or visa (not expired)
- Military I.D.
- Original birth certificate
Waiting Periods and Residency
Good news for couples eager to start their journey as a married couple: Arkansas does not have a waiting period for issuing marriage licenses. If both applicants are 18 years or older, a marriage license can be issued immediately. However, if one party is a male aged 17 or a female aged 16 or 17 obtaining the license with parental consent, a waiting period of 5 business days is required.
It’s also important to note that you don’t need to be a resident of Arkansas to get married there; the marriage license is valid throughout the state.
Previous Marriages and Covenant Marriages
If you’ve been previously married, you’ll need to show your divorce decree or provide information about the date, county, and state of death of your previous spouse. In case your name has changed due to a divorce, be sure to bring a certified copy of your divorce decree.
Covenant marriages offer a unique option for couples in Arkansas. By declaring their intent on their Application for Marriage license and executing a Declaration of Intent, couples can enter into a Covenant Marriage. This involves authorized counseling that emphasizes the nature, purposes, and responsibilities of marriage.
Name Change and Blood Tests
Getting a marriage license with your new name doesn’t automatically change your name. If you want to change your last name, you can use an online marriage name change kit. And the good news is that Arkansas does not require any blood or medical tests to get married.
Age Requirements and Consent
Males aged 17 and females aged 16-17 can marry in Arkansas with parental consent, but a mandatory 5-day waiting period is imposed. “Parental consent” includes the agreement of both parents or specific guardians, as defined by the law. If the female is pregnant, parties under 18 may still marry with judicial approval.
Marriage Officiants and Witnesses
In Arkansas, Justices of the Peace and ministers can solemnize marriages. Ministers must have their credentials recorded in any county in Arkansas. Witnesses are not required for marriages in the state.
Expiration and Record Keeping
A marriage license in Arkansas is valid for sixty (60) days. While you can use the license anywhere within the state, it must be returned to the County Clerk’s office where you initially applied. To obtain a copy of your Certificate of Marriage License, you can contact the Division of Vital Records.
In conclusion, understanding the process of obtaining a marriage license in Arkansas is crucial for a smooth and legal wedding experience. From identification requirements to waiting periods and officiants, this guide has covered all the key aspects you need to know. Now you’re ready to embark on your journey into marital bliss!
1. Can I use a credit card to pay the application fee? Unfortunately, the application fee must be paid in cash. Contact the relevant office for any alternative payment methods.
2. Is there a waiting period for issuing marriage licenses? There is no waiting period if both parties are 18 years or older. Otherwise, a 5-day waiting period applies with parental consent.
3. Can I change my name on the marriage license? Obtaining a license with your new name doesn’t automatically change your name. Use an online marriage name change kit for that purpose.
4. Who can officiate a marriage in Arkansas? Justices of the Peace and ministers can officiate marriages in Arkansas. Ministers must have their credentials recorded in the state.
5. How long is the marriage license valid for? The marriage license is valid for sixty (60) days and can be used anywhere in Arkansas.