Marriage License Requirements
So, you’ve found the love of your life and you’re ready to take the next step – getting married! Congratulations are in order, but before you start planning the big day, there’s an important administrative aspect to consider: the marriage license. In this article, we’ll delve into the ins and outs of obtaining a marriage license in Arkansas, covering everything from the application process to the requirements and fees. Let’s embark on this journey to marital bliss together.
Before you say “I do,” you need to secure a marriage license. This legal document is essential to making your union official in the eyes of the law. In Arkansas, the process is straightforward, but there are a few important details to keep in mind.
Application for Marriage License
To apply for a marriage license in Arkansas, both parties must complete an application. This can typically be done at the County Clerk’s office. The process involves providing essential information about yourselves, and it’s essential that you’re both present during the application process.
Both individuals must present valid government-issued identification that includes their correct names and dates of birth. If either party has undergone a name change due to a divorce, a certified copy of the divorce decree must be presented. This ensures that the correct names are reflected on the application.
As of now, the application fee for a marriage license in Arkansas is $60.00. This fee is subject to change, so it’s recommended to check with your local County Clerk’s office for the most up-to-date information. The fee is generally payable in cash, so be sure to have the exact amount on hand.
Returning the Marriage License
After your wedding ceremony, whether it’s a lavish affair or an intimate gathering, it’s your responsibility to return the marriage license to the County Clerk’s office. This must be done within sixty (60) days from the date of issuance, regardless of whether the license was used or not.
Marriage Waiting Period
In Arkansas, there is no waiting period required for obtaining a marriage license. If both parties are at least 18 years old, the license can be issued immediately. However, if one party is between 16-17 years old, a waiting period of 5 business days is mandatory, and parental consent is required.
Marriage Residency Requirement
Great news for those planning a destination wedding in Arkansas – there’s no residency requirement. You can obtain your marriage license in Arkansas regardless of whether you’re a resident or not, and the license can be used anywhere within the state.
If you or your partner have been previously married, you’ll need to provide relevant information such as the date, county, and state of the previous marriage, or information about the death of a former spouse. If a name change occurred due to divorce, a certified copy of the divorce decree is necessary.
Marriage License Fees
The marriage license fee in Arkansas is currently set at $60.00. It’s important to note that acceptable forms of payment typically include cash. If you prefer to pay using an alternative method, it’s advisable to call ahead and inquire about the options available.
Arkansas offers the option of a Covenant Marriage, which involves an additional commitment to the marriage. Couples interested in this option must declare their intent to enter into a Covenant Marriage on their Application for Marriage license. This declaration involves counseling and an affirmation of commitment.
Unfortunately, proxy marriages are not allowed in Arkansas. Both parties must be physically present during the application process and the marriage ceremony.
Arkansas does not permit cousin marriages, meaning cousins are not allowed to marry each other within the state.
Common Law Marriages
Common law marriages are not recognized in Arkansas. To be legally married, you must obtain a valid marriage license and have a ceremony officiated by an authorized individual.
Marriage Blood Test
Good news for those looking to tie the knot in Arkansas – there is no requirement for blood or medical tests before obtaining a marriage license.
While obtaining a marriage license with your new name is a significant step, it doesn’t automatically change your name legally. If you’re looking to change your last name, you’ll need to follow the appropriate legal procedures.
Marriage Age Requirements
The minimum age for marriage in Arkansas is 18 years for males and 16-17 years for females. Parental consent is mandatory for those under 18. Exceptions are made for pregnant minors, with certain conditions applied.
In Arkansas, Justices of the Peace (and former Justices of the Peace who have served at least 2 terms since 1977) are authorized to solemnize marriages. Ministers can also officiate weddings, provided their credentials are recorded in an Arkansas county. Officiants must complete specific information on the Marriage License.
Unlike some states, Arkansas does not require witnesses for marriages. The presence of an officiant and the couple exchanging vows is sufficient.
Expiration Date of Marriage License
A marriage license in Arkansas is valid for sixty (60) days from the date of issuance. While you can use the license anywhere in the state, you must return it to the County Clerk’s office where you applied.
Copy of Certificate of Marriage License
After the marriage is solemnized, you can obtain a copy of the Certificate of Marriage License from the Division of Vital Records in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Navigating the process of obtaining a marriage license can seem overwhelming, but it’s an essential step on your journey to marital bliss. From identification requirements to fees and waiting periods, this guide has provided a comprehensive overview of what you need to know when getting married in Arkansas. So, take a deep breath, gather your documents, and embark on this exciting chapter of your life together.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Q: Can we apply for a marriage license if we’re not residents of Arkansas? A: Yes, Arkansas does not require residency for obtaining a marriage license.
- Q: What happens if I’ve been previously married? A: If you’ve been previously married, you’ll need to provide information about the divorce or the death of your former spouse.
- Q: Is there a waiting period for obtaining a marriage license? A: For couples aged 18 or over, there’s no waiting period. However, those aged 16-17 must wait for 5 business days.
- Q: Can we have a proxy marriage in Arkansas? A: No, Arkansas does not allow proxy marriages. Both parties must be present during the application and ceremony.
- Q: Is common law marriage recognized in Arkansas? A: No, Arkansas does not recognize common law marriages. A valid marriage license and ceremony are required.