What You Need to Do Before Applying for a Marriage License

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The road to marriage can be a confusing process, particularly when it comes to obtaining the all-important marriage license. To ensure that your wedding goes off without a hitch, and you start your married life on the right foot, make sure you take these steps to prepare to apply for your marriage license.

Make sure you can coordinate a time with you and your significant other

Both you and your partner must be present in order to get your marriage license, so it’s important to determine a time that will work for both of you. Although the county clerk’s office typically holds 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. hours, many offices also offer early mornings and late nights. Determine your local office’s hours first, and then coordinate.

Make sure you have proper (valid) identification on hand

Every state has different requirements for obtaining a marriage license. All require proper identification, but the types of identification they require vary by state and circumstance. Contact or visit your county clerk’s office to determine ahead of time what you need.

Confirm the number of marriage licenses you need

Does this apply to you: You live in one state but are getting married in another. If so, you might need to obtain a marriage license from each state. Not all states require this, so it’s important to do your homework ahead of time. The extra license fees and travel will be easier to deal with if you discover them early on.

Consider premarital counseling

Financial writer Brad Pittman explains, “In many states premarital counseling will qualify you for a discount on your marriage license. We were married in Oklahoma and saved an extra $25 seven years ago. It’s not much, but every bit of savings helps when you’re starting off newly married.”

Allow yourself enough time to ensure the license is valid

A license is only valid for a certain amount of time — in some states and counties it’s only valid for 30 days, but for others it’s valid for 90 days. Find out the timeframe for your state or county, and then plan around that. Also, make sure that you allot time for the signed license to be returned to your clerk’s office while it is still valid.

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