Marriage Procedures and Requirements 7

Getting married is a pretty straightforward process in the U.S. However, marriage laws do vary from state to state. In general, the couple wishing to be married must obtain a license from the state where the marriage is to take place. To obtain this license, almost all states require that the couple consist of a man and a woman.

The couple will most likely have to pay a fee for the license and most states require a waiting period that can range anywhere from one day to one week. Couples may be asked to submit to a physical before the license is granted and in some states, blood tests must be submitted to determine if either party has a venereal disease. This does not include a test for AIDS and, depending upon your state, you may or may not be allowed to marry if a venereal disease is confirmed. In addition to blood tests, some states also require proof of immunization against certain diseases.

To qualify for your marriage license you must be mentally capable of understanding what you are about to do and be at least 18 years of age (the age of consent), however many states allow for those who are 16 and 17 years of age to marry with the consent of a parent or by permission of a judge. While there are some states that allow first cousins to marry, most states forbid marriage to a close blood-relative (incest). Those that do allow first cousin marriages often require that at least one of the parties be infertile and, therefore, unable to conceive. You cannot be drunk when you get married nor can you be married to someone else (bigamy), unless that marriage was dissolved through divorce, annulment or death.

Once you have obtained your license, the ceremony must be performed by someone authorized by the state to do so, usually a judge or ordained religious leader and must be witnessed by a third party (some states require two witnesses). The official presiding over the ceremony will normally have witnesses on hand to satisfy this requirement. The ceremony may be civil or religious, depending upon your preference and both are considered to be equally valid.


  • Candace

    Me & my boyfriend have a kid together & he pays child support for her. we are back together & are wondering if we get married can he stop paying child support?

    • cristina

      you can remove it yourself. You call CPS

  • Dear Sir or Madam

    i’d like to know what do i have to do or follow i want to officialy marry my wife to be. Where do you go, what do i need to bring with me.What must i have to have.

    kind regards

  • Jessica

    My Fiance & I live in Washington state but want to get married in Idaho, do we have to get a Washington or Idaho marriage license?

  • juana

    what do i need to get married in las vegas, nevada?ednesse sto

  • perkylove4u

    i would love to get married in washington,dc what is the proceedures ?

  • tkerns

    I am divorced and in court i was granted to take my maiden name back,do i need to change my name back to my maiden name before i remarry????