Massachusetts Marriage License Requirements
If you're getting married in the commonwealth of Massachusetts you must first apply for a wedding license at any in-state county clerk office. These offices, some of which are referred to as the "marriage license bureau," are usually located in the county probate court or circuit court. This document outlines the requirements you must adhere to in order to get a valid marriage license that can be used statewide. Let's begin…
Cost of Your License
How much does a marriage license cost?
The marriage license fee is $4.00 to $15.00 dollars. Accepted forms of payment are cash.
Are there any special residency conditions for in-state or out-of-state residents?
There are none. You do not have to be a previous or current resident of Massachusetts to obtain a marriage license that will be valid statewide.
After I submit my application how long do I have to wait before I receive my marriage license?
There is a mandatory 3 day waiting period before your license is issued to you. In most states, the waiting period does not include Saturdays, Sundays or federal holidays. In some instances, the day the application is filed is not included within the waiting period timeline.
Is there a waiting period from the moment the license is given to me to the date I'm allowed to actually marry?
No, you can get married immediately after your marriage license is issued.
How long will my marriage license remain valid once it's been issued?
Your license will expire 60 days from the date it is issued. Once it expires, it can no longer be used to get married.
What happens if my marriage license expires before I get a chance to use it?
Unfortunately, you'll just have to get a brand new one as your expired one will no longer be recognized as valid by the state nor by the person who will be responsible for officiating your marriage.
How old must I be to get married?
You must be at least 18 years of age or older to marry without parental consent. A birth certificate may be necessary to show proof of age.
What if one or both of us is younger than 18?
If either partner is under 18, parents or legal guardians must be present. If a parent can not be present, due to death, separation, divorce or other circumstances, proper evidence must be presented for verification. You will need a certified copy of your birth certificate. If you are under 16 you can not marry without a court order.
Are blood tests and physical exams required?
None. Massachusetts state lawmakers repealed the law requiring blood tests late in 2004. It went into effect on January 28, 2005.
Divorced or Widowed Applicants
What if one or both partners have been divorced or have had a spouse die?
If you were previously married, you do not need to bring a certified copy of the divorce decree or death certificate.
Marriage Name Change
How do I legally change my name before or after I get married?
When you are married, you will receive a marriage certificate, which is a piece of paper proving that you are legally married. This document will serve as evidence of your marriage, which you'll need to complete the process of notifying several government agencies about your name change, as well as any non-government institutions that you do business with (ie, banks, employers, credit cards, memberships, etc).
There is an online marriage name change kit that you can use and complete before or after your marriage takes place. It's applicable for Massachusetts or any other state in the union. Completing all the necessary name change documentation prior to your wedding is recommended in order to expedite the name change process.
What is a proxy marriage?
A proxy marriage, also known as a "proxy wedding," is when one or both partners to be married are unable to physically attend the ceremony. The missing person, or persons, will have someone "stand in" for them and serve as their "proxy."
Can I get married by proxy if I'm unable to to be present for the ceremony?
No, getting married by proxy is not allowed in Massachusetts. There are actually only five states left that do allow marriage by proxy.
Common Law Marriage
What is a common law marriage?
The term "common law marriage" refers to an informal marriage, based upon cohabitation and a mutual understanding by both partners, rather than getting married through a civil or religious ceremony. The latter, more common approach, would require an actual Massachusetts marriage license.
Is a common law marriage a legal option for me instead of undergoing a conventional marriage?
No, common-law marriages are not allowed in Massachusetts. This is unsurprising as only one-fifth of the country currently recognizes common law marriage.
Can I get married to my cousin?
Yes, cousin marriages (first, second, etc) are allowed to take place.
Same Sex Marriage
Are same sex marriages legal?
Yes, same-sex marriages are allowed and legally recognized in Massachusetts.
Where to Go
Where do I physically need to go to get my marriage license?
Massachusetts has 22 offices where a marriage license can be acquired. Simply choose a location below to visit. Phone numbers as well as map and accompanying driving direction links are provided for every address.
Adams, MA 01220
Barnstable, MA 02630
Belmont, MA 02478
Boston, MA 02201
Cambridge, MA 02141
Dedham, MA 02026
Edgartown, MA 02539
Fall River, MA 02722
Fitchburg, MA 01420
Greenfield, MA 01302
Great Barrington, MA 01230
Lawrence, MA 01840
Lowell, MA 01853
Nantucket, MA 02554
New Bedford, MA 02740
North Hampton, MA 01060
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Plymouth, MA 02360
Salem, MA 01970
Springfield, MA 01103
Taunton, MA 02780
Worcester, MA 01608