Marriage License Requirements
If you’ve found the love of your life and you’re ready to take the next step, getting married, this article will provide you with all the information you need to know about obtaining a marriage license in Arkansas. From the required documentation to the application process and everything in between, we’ve got you covered.
Marriage is a significant milestone in anyone’s life, and it all begins with obtaining a marriage license. In the state of Arkansas, the process is straightforward, but it’s essential to be aware of the requirements and procedures to ensure a smooth journey into wedded bliss.
To apply for a marriage license in Arkansas, both parties must be at least 18 years old and present a valid government-issued identification that displays their correct name and date of birth. If either party has undergone a name change due to a divorce, a certified copy of the divorce decree is required to reflect the change. The application fee for a marriage license is $60.00.
Marriage ID Requirement
In addition to the application requirements, both parties must possess a valid form of identification. This could include a state-issued ID, a valid driver’s license, an Indian card, a passport, a visa, a military ID, or an original birth certificate.
Marriage Waiting Period Requirement
Arkansas has no waiting period for couples seeking a marriage license. If both applicants are 18 years or older, the license may be issued immediately. However, if one party is aged 16 or 17 (female) or 17 (male) and obtaining a license with parental consent, a waiting period of 5 business days is mandatory.
Marriage Residency Requirement
Good news for out-of-state couples: Arkansas does not require residency for obtaining a marriage license. The license you receive can be used anywhere within the state.
For those who have been previously married, you’ll need to provide a divorce decree or have information regarding the date, county, and state of your previous spouse’s death. If your name has changed due to divorce, a certified copy of the divorce decree is essential.
Marriage License Fees
The marriage license fee in Arkansas is $60.00, payable in cash. If you’re curious about alternative payment methods, it’s a good idea to contact the relevant authorities ahead of time.
Act 1486 of 2001 introduced Covenant Marriages as an option for couples in Arkansas. This unique type of marriage requires couples to declare their intent on their marriage license application and execute a Declaration of Intent to contract a Covenant Marriage. This declaration involves authorized counseling and additional steps.
Proxy Marriages, Cousin Marriages, and Common Law Marriages
Arkansas does not permit proxy marriages, cousin marriages, or common law marriages, ensuring that couples must meet the standard legal requirements.
Marriage Blood Test
Unlike some states, Arkansas does not require any blood or medical tests to obtain a marriage license.
It’s important to note that obtaining a marriage license with your new name doesn’t automatically change your name. If you wish to change your last name, you can explore using an online marriage name change kit.
Marriage Age Requirements
Arkansas law sets the minimum marriageable age at 18 years for males and 16-17 years for females with parental consent. Parental consent requires a mandatory 5-day waiting period. In specific cases where pregnancy is involved, there are additional legal considerations.
Marriage officiants in Arkansas include Justices of the Peace and registered ministers. Ministers must have their credentials recorded in any county in Arkansas and must complete the necessary information on the Marriage License’s Certificate of Marriage. The couple is responsible for returning the license to the County Clerk’s office within 60 days.
Interestingly, no witnesses are required for marriages in Arkansas, simplifying the ceremony process.
Expiration Date of Marriage License
A marriage license in Arkansas remains valid for 60 days and can be used anywhere within the state. However, it must be returned to the County Clerk’s office where it was originally obtained.
Copy of Certificate of Marriage License
Should you require a copy of your marriage license certificate, you can contact the Division of Vital Records, located at 4815 West Markham Street, Little Rock, AR.
Getting married in Arkansas is a meaningful and exciting journey. By familiarizing yourself with the requirements, regulations, and options available, you’re setting yourself up for a smooth path to your wedding day. Remember, the love and commitment you share are at the heart of this process, and the legal steps are simply a means to celebrate that love officially.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can we apply for a marriage license online? Unfortunately, Arkansas does not offer online marriage license applications at this time.
- Are same-sex marriages legal in Arkansas? Yes, same-sex marriages are legal and recognized in Arkansas.
- Can a friend or family member officiate our wedding? Only Justices of the Peace and registered ministers can officiate weddings in Arkansas.
- Is premarital counseling required for all marriages? While premarital counseling is not mandatory for all marriages, it’s a part of the Covenant Marriage option.
- Can we get a refund if we don’t use the marriage license? No, the application fee is non-refundable, whether you use the license or not.