If you want to get married in Massachusetts, you'll have to get a marriage license first. Here's what you need to know and what documents to bring with you before you apply for a marriage license in the Bay State.
You and your future partner both have to appear at the city or town's Clerk's Office. Ready for a marriage license? Not so fast. You first have to fill out out an application called a "Notice of Intention to Marry." You'll both need a valid form of identification, your Social Security numbers, and the application fee of $50. You must come in person -- these forms can't be processed by mail. There is a three-day waiting period to get the actual marriage license.
If either person was previously married, he or she must show certified documents on how previous marriage ended such as divorce, annulment, or death.
Also, you don't have to have a physical examination or get a blood test to receive a marriage license in Massachusetts.
The following table highlights the main provisions of Massachusetts marriage license laws. See Marriage Laws Overview, prenuptial agreements, Tips for Marriage, and Marriage FAQs for more information.
||M.G.L. Chapter 207 et seq
|Where to Obtain a License
||City or town Clerk's office
Both parties must be at least 18 years of age.
Valid driver's license or state-issued identification, or passport
|Same Sex Marriage
|Blood Test Requirement
||Varies by county, but usually around $50.
|How Long is the License Valid?
||60 days from the date of issuance.
|Who Can Preside Over the Ceremony?
||Any ordained ministers or clergymen, and justices of the peace may perform weddings in Massachusetts.A non-minister or non-justice of the peace (such as a relative of family friend) may receive from the Governor, for a fee, special one-time permission to perform a marriage.
||If you've been married before, you may need to present your divorce decree or annulment papers to the clerk's office.
||3 calendar (three) days
|Where to Order Copies of Marriage/Divorce Decree
||Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records and Statistics
|What Information Do I Need Before Applying for a Marriage Intention?
Couples should be prepared to provide information such as:
- Legal first, middle, and last names (and know what surname/last name you will use after marriage);
- Date of Birth(s);
- Declare if this is the first, second, etc. marriage and the status of the last marriage (widowed, divorced, etc.). If divorced, provide finalized divorce date. If annulled, bring a copy of the papers;
- Birth place(s) – City/Town, State, Country; and
- Parents' names including mother’s maiden/family name, and if their parents were married at the time of their birth.
Because marriage laws can sometimes get complicated, it may also be a good idea to consult an experienced family law attorney if you have questions about your specific situation.