Marriage License Requirements
Are wedding bells ringing in your future? If you’re planning to tie the knot in the picturesque state of Arkansas, understanding the ins and outs of marriage license fees and requirements is essential. Whether you’re a local resident or considering a destination wedding, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the process, ensuring your big day goes off without a hitch.
Obtaining a Marriage License
Before you embark on your marital journey, let’s dive into the specifics of obtaining a marriage license in Arkansas. Whether you’re an Arkansas native or planning a destination wedding, the state has laid out certain criteria to ensure a seamless process.
To apply for a marriage license in Arkansas, both parties must be 18 years of age or older. You’ll need to present a valid government-issued identification that displays your correct name and date of birth. If your name has changed due to a divorce, and your driver’s license doesn’t reflect this change, you’ll need to provide a certified copy of your divorce decree.
Name Change Considerations
Obtaining a marriage license with your new name on it doesn’t automatically change your name. If you wish to change your last name, you can explore online marriage name change kits for a hassle-free process.
The Application Process
Let’s break down the steps to apply for a marriage license in Arkansas.
Both parties need to present valid identification documents that establish their age and identity. If either party has been previously married, they should have their divorce decree or information about the date, county, and state of death of the previous spouse.
A marriage license application comes with a fee of $60.00 (Sixty Dollars). Cash is the accepted form of payment. For other payment methods, it’s advisable to call ahead and inquire.
Marriage Waiting Periods
In Arkansas, there is generally no waiting period for obtaining a marriage license. If both applicants are 18 years or older, the license may be issued immediately. However, for males aged 17 and females aged 16 or 17 seeking a marriage license with parental consent, a waiting period of 5 business days is mandatory.
Good news for non-residents: you do not have to be a resident of Arkansas to obtain a marriage license in the state. The license is valid for use anywhere within the state’s borders.
Previous Marriages and Documentation
If you’ve been previously married, you’ll need to provide your divorce decree as part of the application process. Additionally, if your name has changed, due to divorce or other reasons, be sure to bring a certified copy of the relevant documentation.
Exploring Marriage License Fees
Understanding the cost structure of marriage licenses in Arkansas is crucial for effective planning.
Understanding the Cost
The marriage license fee in Arkansas is $60.00 (Sixty Dollars).
Accepted Payment Methods
The acceptable form of payment for the application fee is cash. If you’re considering alternative payment methods, it’s advisable to contact the relevant authorities beforehand.
Arkansas offers the option of a Covenant Marriage, allowing couples to choose a unique path for their marital journey.
What is a Covenant Marriage?
A Covenant Marriage involves a declaration of intent by both parties to choose this special form of union. It emphasizes the nature, purposes, and responsibilities of marriage, and requires authorized counseling before the marriage takes place.
Process and Requirements
To enter into a Covenant Marriage, both parties need to submit an Application for Marriage license along with a Declaration of Intent. This declaration includes a recitation, an affidavit of authorized counseling, and signatures from both parties, witnessed by a notary.
Who can solemnize your marriage in the state of Arkansas? Let’s find out.
Justices of the Peace, as well as former Justices of the Peace with at least 2 terms of service since 1977, are eligible to solemnize marriages. Ministers performing marriages must have their credentials recorded in any Arkansas county.
Responsibilities and Return of License
Ministers and Justices of the Peace must complete the Certificate of Marriage on the Marriage License. It’s important to note that the officiant is not responsible for returning the license; this task falls upon the applicants, who must return it to the County Clerk’s office within SIXTY (60) DAYS from the date of issuance.
Unlike some states, Arkansas does not require witnesses for marriages. The focus is on the parties involved, making the process straightforward.
Marriage License Expiration
Let’s explore the validity period of a marriage license in Arkansas.
The marriage license is valid for sixty (60) days. While you can use the license anywhere in the state, it must be returned to the County Clerk’s office where you initially applied.
For obtaining a copy of your marriage certificate, you can contact the Division of Vital Records at the following address:
Congratulations! You’re now well-equipped with the knowledge you need to navigate the intricacies of obtaining a marriage license in Arkansas. Remember, understanding the requirements, fees, and processes is the key to ensuring a smooth and memorable wedding day.
- Is there a waiting period for obtaining a marriage license in Arkansas? No, there is no waiting period for applicants who are both age 18 or over. However, minors aged 16-17 must fulfill a waiting period of 5 business days with parental consent.
- Can non-residents of Arkansas obtain a marriage license in the state? Yes, you do not need to be a resident of Arkansas to obtain a marriage license. The license is valid for use anywhere within the state.
- What is a Covenant Marriage? A Covenant Marriage involves a declaration of intent by both parties to emphasize the nature, purposes, and responsibilities of marriage. Authorized counseling is required before a Covenant Marriage can take place.
- Who can officiate a marriage in Arkansas? Justices of the Peace and Ministers with recorded credentials are eligible to officiate marriages in Arkansas.
- How long is a marriage license valid? A marriage license in Arkansas is valid for sixty (60) days. It must be returned to the County Clerk’s office where it was issued.