De Soto County
Marriage License Requirements
Marriage is a significant milestone in anyone’s life, a beautiful union of two souls. However, before you walk down the aisle, there are certain legal aspects that you must be aware of. One such aspect is the marriage license fee. In the state of Florida, the marriage license fees have specific variations and requirements that couples need to understand. In this article, we will delve into the details of marriage license fees in Florida and provide you with valuable insights.
What is a Marriage License?
A marriage license is a legal document that permits a couple to marry. It serves as a prerequisite for marriage and is obtained from the county clerk’s office. The license indicates that the couple meets the legal criteria for marriage and has fulfilled the necessary requirements.
The Importance of a Marriage License
A marriage license is essential as it legitimizes the marriage and ensures that both parties are eligible to wed. It also provides crucial information about the couple, such as their legal names and vital statistics. Having a valid marriage license is mandatory for a marriage ceremony to be legally recognized.
Understanding the Marriage License Fees
In Florida, obtaining a marriage license comes with a fee. The standard fee for a marriage license is $93.50. However, there is a reduced fee of $61.00 for couples who fulfill specific requirements. This fee may vary slightly depending on the county, so it’s advisable to confirm the exact amount with your local county clerk’s office.
Different Scenarios: Fees and Requirements
Applicants’ Age Criteria
To apply for a marriage license in Florida, both applicants must be at least 18 years old. If either applicant is between 16 and 18 years old, they can still apply with notarized written consent from their parents or guardian. Applicants under 16 years of age require a determination from a County Court Judge.
Premarital Course Certificate
One way to reduce the marriage license fee is by completing a premarital course conducted by a registered premarital provider. Couples who furnish a valid certificate of completion from this course can enjoy a reduced fee of $61.00 instead of the standard $93.50.
Waiting Period and Discount
Florida residents typically have a 3-day waiting period before they can use their marriage license. However, this waiting period can be waived under certain circumstances. If both parties are Florida residents and have attended a 4-hour pre-marital course, the waiting period is not applicable. Additionally, a discount of $32.50 can be availed if both parties complete the premarital course.
Photo Identification and Social Security Numbers
Both parties need to provide photo identification, such as a driver’s license, state ID card, valid passport, or I-94 card. Social Security numbers are also required, though the physical Social Security Cards are not necessary.
Previous Marriages and Documentation
If either party has been previously married, they must provide the date of divorce or spouse’s death. A certified copy of the divorce decree or death certificate is required, especially if the event occurred within the past 30 days.
Marriage Officiants and Witnesses
Marriages in Florida can be officiated by any ordained or licensed clergy, notary publics, and justices of the peace. Interestingly, witnesses are not required during the marriage ceremony.
Expiration and Vital Statistics
A marriage license in Florida is valid for 60 days from the date of issuance. It’s essential to perform the marriage ceremony within this period. After marriage, a copy of the Certificate of Marriage License is kept with the Department of Children and Families, Division of Vital Statistics.
In conclusion, understanding the marriage license fees and requirements in Florida is crucial for couples planning to tie the knot. Whether it’s age criteria, premarital courses, waiting periods, or documentation, each aspect contributes to a smooth and legally recognized marriage process. By adhering to these guidelines, couples can embark on their marital journey with confidence.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Can non-residents of Florida apply for a marriage license in the state? Yes, non-residents can also apply for a marriage license in Florida.
- What is the purpose of a premarital course? A premarital course aims to provide couples with valuable insights and skills for a successful marriage.
- Are witnesses required during a marriage ceremony in Florida? No, witnesses are not required for a marriage ceremony in the state of Florida.
- Can couples change their last names through a marriage license? No, a marriage license itself does not change last names. Couples need to follow a legal process for a name change.
- What happens if a marriage license expires before the ceremony? If a marriage license expires, a new license must be obtained to proceed with the marriage.