When a couple decides to get married, they may be so caught up in other aspects of the relationship that they may lose sight of the legality of the union. Whenever parties form a contractual relationship, they have certain rights and responsibilities; sometimes there are conditions that must be met prior to entering into the contract.
This is true for the marriage contract and the engaged couple must comply with certain requirements that enable them to get married, including specific age, consent, and capacity requirements. Although there's uniformity in state marriage requirements, the laws do vary by jurisdiction. Getting married in Arizona requires familiarity with the state's marriage laws to ensure a smooth road to matrimony.
Arizona Marriage Laws Synopsis
While an attorney's contributions are important when you must know every facet of the law, a plain language explanation of a statute can provide a great introduction. See the chart below for a brief synopsis of marriage laws in Arizona.
Arizona Revised Statutes:
For a valid marriage in Arizona:
- The couple must obtain a marriage license;
- Participate in a marriage ceremony; and
- The marriage must be solemnized (by a person legally authorized to do so) before the license expires.
Marriage Licenses Requirements
To obtain a license:
- The couple must appear together at one of the Justice Court offices and must provide a valid form of I.D.
- No blood test and no waiting period is required.
- The license is valid for 12 months.
The ceremony doesn't have to be a wedding, but it must be performed by a person authorized to solemnize marriages in Arizona.
You have two options: a standard marriage or a covenant marriage because Arizona recognizes "covenant marriages" ( a marriage contract where the couple promises to remain married for life and not to get a divorce).
Covenant Marriage Requirements
- Complete the marriage license documentation;
- Obtain pre-marriage counseling from a marriage counselor or a clergy member who advises the couple that marriage is a lifelong union;
- After completing the counseling, the couple signs a notarized statement that the counseling was completed; and
- The notarized statement is submitted with the marriage license.
Conversion of Standard Marriages
If a married couple wants to convert their marriage to a covenant marriage, they can get an application from the Superior County Clerk, submit the application and their marriage will convert to a covenant marriage when the application process is complete.
Other Types of Marriages / Prohibited Marriages
Same-sex marriage is legal in all states including Arizona.
Common Law Marriage
Common law marriages created within the state aren't valid. However, Arizona recognizes common law marriages that are valid in other jurisdictions.
- No marriages between parents/child, brother/sister, uncle/niece, aunt/nephew, or first cousins except under some conditions.
- If the first cousins are at least 65 years old, they can marry; first cousins may marry if one or both are under 65 and they get court approval based on showing that one of them is sterile and incapable of reproducing.
- If a party is at least 16, they must get parental consent to marry.
- If a party is under 16, they must get parental consent and court approval.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Arizona Marriage Laws: Related Resources
Questions About Arizona Marriage Laws? Contact an Attorney
If you're engaged, you'll want to make sure that you know everything about Arizona's marriage laws before tying the knot. Whether you're interested in a covenant marriage or just need help with obtaining a license, an experienced attorney can assist you. Contact an Arizona family law attorney located near you to get started.