While a wedding is a celebration or ceremony marking the union of two individuals, and by extension two families, marriage is a civil arrangement made under state jurisdiction. All states require parties to a marriage to obtain a marriage license from the local clerk's office prior to making the union formal through the ceremony. A marriage license is, in effect, a legal contract between two individuals involving the comingling of finances and the forming of a family unit. However, the exact details of property division and other contingencies should the marriage end in divorce may vary if prenuptial agreements are in place.
In New York State, parties to a marriage must apply in person and sign the application (sample New York marriage license) in the presence of the clerk, even if an individual has power of attorney with respect to one of the parties. If either party has previously been married, they will need to obtain a certified copy of the Decree of Divorce. Those applying for a marriage license in New York City must do so through the Office of the City Clerk.
Each party to the marriage must present proof of age and identity through one of the following documents:
- Birth certificate
- Baptismal record
- Naturalization record
- Census record
- Driver's license
- Employment picture ID
- Immigration record
New York Marriage License Requirements at a Glance
It's important to know the letter of the law in any statute, but it never hurts to have an explanation of a statute in plain terms. See the chart below for a quick summary of New York's marriage laws relating to age requirements, waiting periods and fees, and for a link to the relevant statute.
New York Consolidated Laws DOM § 13, et seq.
- 18 years or older; or
- 17 years with the written consent of both parents and a judge with jurisdiction over the town or city where the application is filed (exceptions may be made under certain circumstances, such as a deceased parent).
Blood Test Requirement
Where to Obtain Marriage License
|A marriage license may be obtained at any town or city clerk in the state.
The marriage may not take place within 24 hours from the exact time the license was issued. This may be waived by a judge.
How Long is the License Valid?
Marriage licenses are valid for 60 days (beginning the day after it was issued).
$40 if the license is issued in New York State but outside of New York City limits. For licenses issued by City Clerk of the City of New York, check for current fees.
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.
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New York Marriage License Requirements: Related Resources
Get Legal Help With Your New York Marriage Concerns
For such an important life change, the process of getting married is fairly straightforward: you apply for a marriage license and then plan the big day. But everyone's situation is different and you may have specific legal questions. If you're in doubt, be sure to contact an experienced New York family law attorney before you tie the knot.