Getting married essentially constitutes a contract. And like any other legal contract, it requires certain written and signed documentation.
Some court forms will require witnesses, affidavits, or attorneys. Others will not. Getting married can be as easy as a trip to the county clerk's office. It's important to follow the correct procedure to ensure your marriage is valid before a marriage ceremony takes place.
This section includes general information on court forms and resources related to marriage certificates, marriage licenses, sample prenuptial agreements, vital records, and documents needed when meeting with an attorney.
Getting Married: Documents You May Need
In order to get a marriage license, marriage certificate, and a name change, you will need certain forms and documents.
If you are applying for a marriage license, most states require:
- Photo identification (like a driver's license)
- Birth certificate
- License fee
- Divorce decree or death certificate for your previous spouse (if applicable)
For other legal processes related to marriage, such as prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, your attorney will request a number of financial documents (original or certified copies). These may include, but are not limited to, any of the following:
- Federal and state individual income tax returns (the last three to five years)
- Business tax returns (the last three to five years)
- Proof of current income
- Bank statements
- Monthly budget
- Living wills
Meeting With an Attorney: The Intake Form
Before issuing a marriage certificate, you may want to speak to a family law attorney for legal advice. Most people do not need to consult an attorney prior to getting married.
However, if you have a sizeable fortune, real estate interests, family businesses, or other substantial assets, you may want to consider getting a prenuptial agreement. You may want to plan an estate or trust, or speak to an attorney about concerns regarding child support. Additionally, in the event of an annulment, you will need an attorney.
If you decide to seek legal advice from an attorney, they will conduct an intake process. Intake involves collecting general information about your case to understand how the attorney can best help you.
The intake form will ask for information such as current and past addresses, contact information, social security number, all names used in the past, past and present employers, income, children, and other personal data.
Click on a link below for sample forms and resources related to the marriage process.
Learn About Marriage Forms and Resources
- Marriage License Requirements: A marriage license is the first step toward getting married from a legal perspective. You will need to get a marriage license before the marriage ceremony. To get a marriage license, you will need to fill out a marriage license application. Click here to find out why marriage licenses are important. Find out the requirements couples in different states must meet before obtaining a marriage license.
- Checklist: Documents to Show Your Attorney: If you seek legal aid from a family law attorney before getting married, you must show your attorney various vital records or certified copies. This document checklist will help you get the most out of your consultation.
- Attorney Intake Form for Marriage: Learn what to expect when you meet with your family law attorney before getting married. Take a look at this self-help form (available to print and download).
- Checklist: Documents That Establish a Common Law Marriage: Not every state recognizes common law marriage. If you live in a state that has common law marriage, you may have to prove that you are married in court. This checklist has all the documents that you may need to prove your marriage.
- Sample Financial Statement: Take a look at this sample financial statement to better review your and your partner's debts and liabilities before getting married. This is a crucial step that could help you avoid conflict later in the marriage.
- Sample Prenuptial Agreement: Curious about what a prenuptial agreement entails? Elements that a typical prenuptial agreement contains can be found here.
Marriage Forms and Resources Articles