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New York Marriage Laws

Preparing for marriage can be a very exciting time: It's thrilling to imagine spending a lifetime with that special someone. It might be tempting to be impetuous and get married with minimal planning; Las Vegas is great for that unlike some other destinations that might present problems. However, if you want to get married in New York, there are practical matters that must be taken into account prior to the marriage.

Besides being eligible for lawful marriage with certain age, consent, and capacity requirements, the prospective spouses should become acquainted with other factors in order to comply with New York's marriage laws

New York Marriage Laws at a Glance

Although an attorney's contributions to interpreting statutes can't be denied, it's certainly helpful to have a plain language reference as well. The chart below provides a summary of the statutes that comprise New York's marriage laws.


Validity of Marriage

All states including New York have certain requirements to obtain a marriage license.

Marriage licenses

  • Information regarding previous marriages must be provided in the application for the marriage license.
  • It is necessary if you intend to be married, that you obtain a license within 60 days to the clergy person or magistrate who will officiate prior to the marriage being performed.

Solemnization (performance) of marriage

For a valid marriage ceremony, the ceremony must be performed by any of the following individuals:

  • The current of former governor
  • The mayor of a village or town
  • A marriage officer appointed by the town or village board or the city common council
  • A justice or judge of various courts named in the statute
  • A village, town, or county justice
  • A member of the clergy or minister who's been officially authorized to perform marriages from a governing church body
  • Other officiates specified in the statute

No particular form or ceremony is required. However, when the marriage is performed, the parties must declare their intention to become lawful spouses in the presence of an authorized member of the clergy or an authorized magistrate and at least one other witness.

Time Frame

A marriage is not to be performed within 24 hours after the issuance of the marriage license unless authorized by an order of the court of record.

Incestuous/Void marriages

A marriage is considered incestuous and void (whether the relatives are legitimate or illegitimate) in the following situations:

  • Marriage between an ancestor and descendant
  • Marriage between a brother and a sister (whether whole siblings or half siblings)
  • Marriage between an uncle and a niece or between an aunt and nephew.
    A person who knowingly and willfully performs an incestuous marriage or aids in the performance of such a marriage can be charged with a misdemeanor and can be penalized accordingly.

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.

New York Marriage Laws: Related Resources

Connect with an Attorney about New York Marriage Laws

If you're engaged or are preparing to perform a marriage ceremony in New York, you want to make sure that you're adequately informed to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Connect with an experienced family law attorney in your area today.

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