If you've just set a date for your wedding, this can be an exciting time for the two of you! Don't let the marriage license laws of New Jersey put a dent in your wedding plans.
Here's what you need to know and what documents to bring with you before you apply for a New Jersey marriage license. We recommend contacting a local Registrar to verify information and suggest that you get this legal aspect of your wedding out of the way about a month before your wedding date.
Requirements may vary as each county in New Jersey could have their own requirements.
New Jersey Residency Requirement
Some locales will require an appointment.
You do not have to be a resident of New Jersey.
You must apply at the Registrar at the municipal office where the bride resides. If not a resident of New Jersey, then apply in the groom's town of residence.
If you both are non-residents, then apply in the town where you will be having the wedding ceremony. You will need to show proof of your residency be providing one of the following: Drivers license, utility bill, apartment lease, or tax bill.
Note: For marriage license purposes, military personnel is residents of the posts where they are stationed.
ID Requirements in New Jersey
Picture id such as Drivers License, and certified copies of birth certificates, or naturalization certificates, or valid passports or alien cards.
US citizens also need to know their Social Security numbers.
If you are under 18 years of age, you will need both parents to give consent in front of two witnesses in order for you to receive a marriage license. Those under 16 need judicial approval. In the case of pregnancy or the birth of a child, special provisions may apply.
$28+. It is cash only in some locales.
Common Law Marriages
You will need to show documentation to prove a previous marriage has been dissolved either through death or divorce. Acceptable documents include a certified copy of the final decree of divorce or a certified copy of the death certificate for your former spouse.
Renewal of Vows
Re-marriage licenses are available in New Jersey. There is no waiting period for a remarriage license.
New Jersey has a three (3) day waiting period. For weekend weddings, you will need to apply the Tuesday before to satisfy the three days (72 hours) by Friday. If you have special circumstances such as emergency, illness, military leave, etc., a Superior Court Judge can sign a waiver that would waive the waiting period. After you apply for the license and have a Judge sign the waiver, you can have the License issued immediately.
However, "If both the bride and groom are unavailable to complete the application at the same time, either applicant, may complete his/her part of the application and start the waiting period. The other applicant must return with the same witness (who must be at least 18 years old) to complete his/her part of the application.
The application must be completed by both parties before the license will be issued."
Source: West Windsor
Domestic Partnership Registration
Although couples have more rights by having the Civil Union in New Jersey, the Affidavit of Domestic Partnership can be obtained from a Local Registrar of Vital Statistics in any municipality in New Jersey. Some locales will require an appointment.
Couples must be either same sex couples over the age of 18 or opposite sex couples who are both 62 years of age or older.
You will need to show proof of residence and of joint financial responsibility by providing:
- Joint deed, mortgage agreement or lease.
- Joint bank account.
- Joint ownership of motor vehicle.
- Designation of one of the persons as primary beneficiary in the other person's will, insurance policy, or retirement plan.
Renewal of Vows or Getting Remarried
You can get remarried in New Jersey without having to wait three days. It is required that proof of the previous marriage or civil union be submitted. Consent of parents if required for the remarriage of a minor previously joined in a marriage.
Marriage Application Form
Same Sex Marriages / Civil Unions
As of October 21, 2013, a court ruling allowed gay couples to marry in New Jersey.
On February 19, 2007, same sex couples could apply for a civil union. Civil unions in New Jersey grant most of the benefits of marriage to gay couples. These benefits include adoption, medical decision-making, inheritance, health insurance opportunities, hospital visitation, and the ability to not testify against a partner. The rights are not extended to federal benefits or courts.
Additionally, gay couples legally married or joined in a civil union in other locales will automatically be considered to be in a civil union in New Jersey.
You will need a witness who is over 18 years of age with you when you apply for the marriage license.
Judges of a Federal District Court, United States magistrates, Judges of a Municipal Court, Judges of the Superior Court, Judges of a Tax Court, Retired judges of the Superior Court, Judge or the Superior or Tax Court who has resigned in good standing, any Mayor/Deputy Mayor or Chairman of any Township Committee, Village President of New Jersey, County Clerks, and every minister of every religion. At the time you apply for your marriage license you will have to provide the name of who is going to marry you, where, and when, and an address and phone number for the officiant.
However, the state web site also states that "The marriage application is valid for six months from the date accepted, unless the registrar has granted prior approval to extend the validity of the application to a maximum of one year."
Clarification from a reader: "The 6 six month time frame is for completing the application for the marriage license (i.e. the bride/groom to be can each fill out their portions at different times and need not be there together, however they must each come with the same witness). I believe you have 6 months to complete this process before your $28 application fee becomes invalid. Once this application is complete, a license will be issued which is good for 30 days."
Copy of Certificate of Marriage
New Jersey Department for Public Health
New Jersey State Department of Health and Senior Services
Bureau of Vital Statistics
P.O. Box 370
Trenton, NJ 08625-0307
Phone: (609) 292-4087
Congratulations and much happiness as you begin your lifetime journey together!
PLEASE NOTEPlease note that we make every effort to offer you common-sense marriage advice and helpful information about marriage on this website, but we are not attorneys and the articles on the site are not to be construed as legal advice.
The information in this article was accurate when it was published. It is important that you verify all information with your local marriage license office or county clerk before making any wedding or travel plans.
The marriage site has a world-wide audience and marriage laws and regulations vary from state to state and country to country. When in doubt, seek legal counsel.