Obtaining a Marriage License

Obtaining a Marriage License in Massachusetts

All persons wishing to marry in Massachusetts must obtain a marriage license issued from a Massachusetts City or Town Clerk's Office of their choice. Party A and B must jointly apply for the license (file intentions) in person at the Clerk's Office. Marriage licenses are permanently maintained on file at the Clerk's Office where the marriage intention is filed. Marriage Intentions may be filed at the Marion Town Clerk's Office Monday through Thursday from 8 am to 4 pm, and on Friday from 8 am to 3 pm.

Applying for a Marriage

According to Massachusetts law, you must jointly file intentions to marry, and you may do so with the city or town clerk in any community in the state. If a person is in the military, intentions may be filed by either party, providing one is a Massachusetts resident. If a person is incarcerated in a county house of correction or a state correctional facility, intentions may be filed by either party. A marriage license, once obtained, is valid for 60 days from the date intentions are filed and may be used in any Massachusetts city or town. It is not valid outside of the state.

License Availability

There is a mandatory 3-day waiting period after the marriage intention has been filed. While Sundays and holidays are included in the three days, the day the application is made is not. For example, if you apply on Friday, your license will be issued on or after Monday. Marriage licenses must be picked up in person at the Town Clerk's office.

Age Guidelines

A Massachusetts resident may marry if he or she is 18 years of age or older. A birth certificate may be required to show proof of age. If either party is under 18, a court order from a probate or district court where the minor resides must be obtained before the marriage intentions can be filed.

Previously Married

Neither party is required to present a divorce certificate when filing intentions to marry. However, it is extremely important that an individual who has been divorced be certain that his/her divorce is absolute. If the party is uncertain as to the absolute date of the divorce, they should contact the court where the divorce was granted. In Massachusetts, a divorce does not become absolute until 90 days after the divorce nisi has been granted, regardless of the grounds for divorce. There are no special requirements for a widow or widower who is remarrying.

Ceremony

Massachusetts statute does not require that witnesses be present at your ceremony. However, if a member of the clergy performs the ceremony, you should ensure that you are in conformity with the appropriate religious tenets.

Solemnizer/Clergy

If an out-of-state member of the clergy is to perform the marriage, the clergyperson must obtain a Certificate of Authorization from the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth prior to the ceremony. This certificate, which is issued by the Public Records Division of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, is to be attached to the original license and returned to the clerk of the city or town where the license was issued. For further information, contact:

  • Division of Public Records
    Secretary of the Commonwealth
    1 Ashburton Place, Rm 1719
    Boston, MA 02108
    Phone Number: 617-727-2836

If a person other than a member of the clergy is designated as "Solemnizer" or Justice of the Peace for the Ceremony, further information can be obtained from:

  • Secretary of the Commonwealth
    1 Ashburton Place
    Boston, MA 02108
    Phone Number: 617-727-5787
  • Registry of Vital Records and Statistics
    Department of Public Health
    470 Atlantic Avenue, 2nd Fl
    Boston, MA 02210
    Phone Number: 617-753-8600