Marriage License Requirements
Marriage is a significant milestone in life, a union of two individuals embarking on a journey together. But before the wedding bells chime, there are legal formalities to consider, such as obtaining a marriage license. In the state of Florida, the process of acquiring a marriage license comes with a few intricacies. From fees to prerequisites, this article breaks down everything you need to know.
Getting married is an exciting endeavor, and in Florida, it all begins with a marriage license. This legal document is essential for solemnizing your marriage. Let’s delve into the various aspects of obtaining a marriage license in the Sunshine State.
Age Requirements and Consent
To apply for a marriage license in Florida, both parties must be at least 18 years old. However, if either party is between 16 and 18 years old, they can still apply with written consent from their parents or guardian. Applicants under 16 years old must obtain approval from a County Court Judge.
Blood Test and Waiting Period
Unlike some states, Florida doesn’t require a blood test for obtaining a marriage license. Residents have a standard 3-day waiting period before the license becomes effective. However, this waiting period can be waived if both parties are Florida Residents and have completed a 4-hour pre-marital course.
Florida is a welcoming state for couples from all over. You don’t need to be a resident to apply for a marriage license in Florida. Whether you’re a Florida resident or not, you must read the “Family Law Handbook” as part of the application process.
If you’ve been previously married, you’ll need to provide the date of divorce or the date of your spouse’s death. Certified copies of divorce decrees or death certificates may be required if these events occurred within the past 30 days.
Marriage License Fees
Acquiring a marriage license comes with a fee. The standard fee is $93.50, but if you’ve completed a premarital course, the fee can be reduced to $61.00. The course must be conducted by a registered premarital provider, and a valid completion certificate is needed to avail of the reduction.
Marriage Preparation Course
Marriage preparation courses can provide benefits for Florida residents. By completing an approved course, residents can receive a $32.50 discount on the marriage license fee and waive the 3-day waiting period. Non-residents, while not eligible for the fee reduction, can also waive the waiting period with an accepted course completion certificate.
Proxy Marriages and Cousin Marriages
Proxy marriages, where one or both parties are not physically present, are not allowed in Florida. However, first and second cousins can legally marry in the state.
Common Law Marriages
Florida does not recognize common law marriages. To be legally married, you must obtain a marriage license and follow the proper procedures.
Obtaining a marriage license with your new name doesn’t automatically change your name. If you wish to change your last name, you’ll need to follow the necessary legal procedures.
Marriages in Florida can be officiated by ordained or licensed clergy, notary publics, and justices of the peace.
Unlike some states, Florida doesn’t require witnesses for the marriage ceremony.
Expiration Date of Marriage License
A Florida marriage license is valid for 60 days after issuance. The marriage ceremony must be performed within this time frame.
Certificate of Marriage License
After the marriage ceremony, a copy of the marriage license can be obtained from the Department of Children and Families, Division of Vital Statistics.
Navigating the process of obtaining a marriage license in Florida involves several key considerations, from age requirements to fees and waiting periods. By understanding these nuances, couples can ensure a smooth and legally sound path to their union.
- Do both parties need to be Florida residents to apply for a marriage license? No, residency is not a requirement for obtaining a marriage license in Florida.
- Can I waive the waiting period for the marriage license? Yes, completing an approved premarital course can waive the waiting period for Florida residents.
- Are proxy marriages allowed in Florida? No, proxy marriages are not permitted in the state of Florida.
- Is a blood test required for a marriage license in Florida? No, Florida does not require a blood test for obtaining a marriage license.
- Can I change my last name through the marriage license? Obtaining a marriage license with your new name doesn’t automatically change your name. You’ll need to follow proper legal procedures.