Marriage License Requirements
Are you ready to tie the knot and embark on a lifelong journey of love and commitment? Before you say “I do,” there are a few administrative steps you need to take to make your union official. One crucial step is obtaining a marriage license. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of obtaining a marriage license in Arkansas, the associated fees, and the requirements you need to fulfill. Let’s dive in and ensure your journey to marital bliss starts off on the right foot.
A wedding is a joyous occasion, and obtaining a marriage license is the first step toward making your commitment official. Let’s delve into the process and requirements for acquiring a marriage license in Arkansas.
Application Process and Requirements
Who Can Apply?
For couples looking to obtain a marriage license, both parties must be at least 18 years old. Each individual must present a valid government-issued identification that shows their correct name and date of birth. If there’s been a name change due to divorce and it’s not reflected in your driver’s license, you’ll need to bring a certified copy of your divorce decree.
Name Change Considerations
Changing your name after marriage is a common choice, but it’s important to note that getting a marriage license with your new name on it doesn’t automatically change your name. If you decide to change your last name, you can explore online marriage name change kits.
To apply for a marriage license, there’s an application fee of $60.00 (Sixty Dollars). Be sure to keep this in mind as you prepare for your wedding plans.
Returning the Marriage License
After the wedding, whether you’ve used the license or not, it’s your responsibility to return it to the County Clerk’s office within SIXTY (60) days from the date of issuance.
Acceptable Identification Documents
To validate your identity, you can use a variety of documents, including a state-issued ID, valid driver’s license, Indian card, passport, visa (not expired), military ID, or an original birth certificate.
Marriage Waiting Period
Unlike some states, Arkansas doesn’t impose a waiting period for marriage licenses. If both applicants are 18 or older, a marriage license can be issued immediately. However, if one of the parties is a minor, there’s a mandatory 5-business day waiting period for males aged 17 and females aged 16 or 17 with parental consent.
The good news is that you don’t need to be an Arkansas resident to obtain a marriage license within the state. Your Arkansas marriage license is valid anywhere within the state’s borders.
Dealing with Previous Marriages
If either party has been previously married, you’ll need to provide a divorce decree or information about the date, county, and state of death of the previous spouse. If your name has changed due to divorce, a certified copy of your divorce decree is essential.
Understanding Marriage License Fees
The marriage license fee in Arkansas is $60.00 (Sixty Dollars), and cash is the accepted form of payment. For alternative payment methods, it’s recommended to inquire in advance.
Exploring Covenant Marriages
Arkansas offers couples the option of entering into a Covenant Marriage. This involves declaring your intent on the Application for Marriage license and completing a Declaration of Intent to contract a Covenant Marriage. This process involves authorized counseling emphasizing marriage’s nature, purposes, and responsibilities.
Proxy Marriages, Cousin Marriages, and Common Law Marriages
Arkansas does not allow proxy marriages, cousin marriages, or common law marriages, ensuring that marriages are solemnized through direct consent and participation.
Marriage Blood Test
Fortunately, Arkansas does not require blood or medical tests for marriage.
Name Change After Marriage
While obtaining a marriage license with your new name isn’t synonymous with an automatic name change, online marriage name change kits can help you navigate this process seamlessly.
Marriage Age Requirements and Parental Consent
For individuals aged 17 (males) and 16-17 (females), parental consent is necessary, and a mandatory 5-day waiting period applies. Various scenarios, including custodial arrangements and pregnancy, are considered.
In Arkansas, Justices of the Peace, along with ministers, can solemnize marriages. Ministers must have their credentials recorded in any Arkansas county. It’s important to return the marriage license to the County Clerk’s office within SIXTY (60) DAYS from the issuance date.
Unlike some jurisdictions, Arkansas does not require witnesses for marriage ceremonies.
Expiration Date of Marriage License
Your Arkansas marriage license is valid for sixty (60) days. It can be used anywhere within the state but must be returned to the County Clerk’s office where it was initially obtained.
Obtaining a Copy of the Certificate
If you require a copy of your marriage license certificate, you can contact the Division of Vital Records in Little Rock, Arkansas.
In conclusion, obtaining a marriage license is a pivotal step in your journey to wedded bliss. By adhering to the requirements and processes outlined in this article, you’ll ensure a smooth start to your new chapter as a married couple.
Q1: Can we apply for a marriage license if we’re not Arkansas residents? A: Yes, you don’t need to be an Arkansas resident to obtain a marriage license in the state.
Q2: What documents are acceptable for identification? A: Valid forms of identification include state-issued IDs, driver’s licenses, Indian cards, passports, visas, military IDs, and original birth certificates.
Q3: Is there a waiting period for marriage licenses in Arkansas? A: There’s no waiting period for applicants aged 18 or older. However, a 5-business day waiting period applies to minors with parental consent.
Q4: Can we change our names on the marriage license? A: Yes, you can choose to change your last name on the marriage license, but it won’t automatically change your name.
Q5: Are witnesses required for marriage ceremonies in Arkansas? A: No, Arkansas does not require witnesses for marriage ceremonies.