All persons wishing to marry in Massachusetts must obtain a marriage license issued from a Massachusetts City or Town Clerk's Office of their choice. The two parties to the marriage must jointly apply for the license in person at the Clerk's Office. A Justice of the Peace cannot perform the ceremony until the license is made available.
Applying for a Marriage License
According to Massachusetts law, the two parties to the marriage must jointly file intentions to marry, and you may do so with the city or town clerk in any community in the state. If a person is in the military, intentions may be filed by either party, providing one is a Massachusetts resident.
How long is the license valid?
A marriage license, once obtained, is valid for 60 days from the date intentions are filed and may be used in any Massachusetts city or town. It is not valid outside of the state.
Blood tests are no longer required.
There is a mandatory three-day waiting period. While Sundays and holidays are included in the three days, the day the application is made is not. (For example, if you apply on Friday, your license will be issued on or after Monday.)
May we marry before the three days for a good reason?
Yes, if you can obtain a court waiver after filing intentions. According to MGL Ch. 207:30, if both parties are residents, or non-residents, or one of each, and they need to dispense with the three days, they may do so by applying to the judge of a probate or district court to have the license issued without delay, after filing intentions with the clerk. Under extraordinary or emergency circumstances, such as if the death of either party is imminent or the female is nearing the end of her pregnancy, an authorized request by a an attending physician shall suffice and the clerk can issue the certificate without delay.
How do we obtain a waiver?
You should file your intentions first with any city or town clerk. Then an application for a waiver must be filed by both of you at a probate or district court. After a hearing, the court may issue a certificate allowing the marriage license to be issued, and the marriage performed without delay.
A Massachusetts resident may marry if he or she is 18 years of age or older. A birth certificate may be required to show proof or age. If either party is under 18, a court order from a probate or district court where the minor resides must be obtained before the marriage intentions can be filed.
Obtaining a Certified Copy of the Marriage Certificate
After your wedding, the officiant completes and signs the form, and returns it to the town or city where it was granted. After the license has been filed with the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics, you will be able to obtain a certified copy from the town or city for a nominal fee.
For More Information Please Visit the MA State Websites Listed Below:
- Getting Married in MA - Before the wedding:
- Marriage Certificates:
- MA Laws/Guidelines Regarding Marriage:
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Dawn G. Jordan, Justice of the Peace, Notary Public | 508-754-3485 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Member of the Massachusetts Justices of the Peace Association, Inc.
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