All people who marry in Massachusetts must have a marriage license issued in Massachusetts. An out-of-state license cannot be used. This informational Q & A series outlines the procedures you must follow to obtain the marriage license.
How do we apply for a marriage license?
You must both apply in person for a marriage license. This requirement is applicable to both residents and non-residents of the Commonwealth. According to Massachusetts law, you must jointly file intentions to marry, and you may do so with the city or town clerk in any communtiy in the state. If a person is in the military, intentions may be filed by either party, providing one is a Massachusetts resident. If a person is incarcerated in a county house of correction or a state correctional facility, intentions may be filed by either party. 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.
Is there a waiting period from the date of applicaiton to the date the license is issued?
Yes, 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 after Monday.
May we marry before the three days for good reason?
Yes, if you can obtain a court waiver after filing intentions.
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 mariage license to be issued, and the marriage performed with out delay.
What is the cost of a marriage license?
The fee for the marriage license in Blackstone is $20.00 due at the time of filing your intentions. Other cities and towns may vary.
At what age may a man or woman marry?
A Massachusetts resident may marry if he or she is 18 years of age or older.
What if one or both of us is under 18?
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.
Is a medical certificate required before a license can be issued?
No. As of January 28, 2005 the state of Massachusetts no longer requires medical certificates.
What if one or both of us has been divorced?
You are not required to present a divorce certificate when filing intentions to marry. However, it is extremely important that an individual who has been divorced be certian that his/her divorce is absolute. If you are uncertian as to the absolute date of your divorce, you should contact the court where the divorce was granted. In Massachusetts, a divorce does not become absolute until 90 days after the divorce nisi has been granted, regardless of the grounds for divorce.
Is there any special requirement for a widow or widower who is remarrying?
Do we need any witnesses present at the ceremony?
Massachusetts statute does not require that witnesses be present at your ceremony. However, if a member of the clergy performs the ceremony, you should ensure that you are in conformity with the appropriate religious tenets.
What are the responsibilities of the member of the clergy or justice of the peace?
The member of the clergy or justice of the peace must complete and sign the original license and return it to the clerk of the city or town where the license was issued.
What should be done if an out-of-state member of the clergy is to perform the marriage?
If an out-of-state member of the clergy is to perform the marriage, the clergy person must obtain a Certificate of Authorization from the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth prior to the ceremony. This certificate, which is issued by the Public Records Division of the Secretary of the Commonwealth is to be attached to the original license and returned to the clerk of the city or town where the license was issued. For further information, contact:
Division of Public Records
Secretary of the Commonwealth
One Ashburton Place, Room 1719
Boston, MA 02108