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Marriage Laws U.S. Massachusetts MA Wedding Officiants

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Marriage license Laws in the state of Massachusetts, here's what you need to know and what documents to bring with you before you apply for a marriage intention application in Massachusetts. We recommend getting this legal aspect of your wedding out of the way about a month before your ceremony wedding date.

Abington
Acton
Acushnet
Adams
Agawam
Alford
Amesbury
Amherst
Andover
Aquinnah
Arlington
Ashburnham
Ashby
Ashfield
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Athol
Attleboro
Auburn
Avon
Ayer
Barnstable
Barre
Becket
Bedford
Belchertown
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Belmont
Berkley
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Bernardston
Beverly
Billerica
Blackstone
Blandford
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Boston
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Cambridge
Canton
Carlisle
Carver
Charlemont
Charlton
Chatham
Chelmsford
Chelsea
Cheshire
Chester
Chesterfield
Chicopee
Chilmark
Clarksburg
Clinton
Cohasset
Colrain
Concord
Conway
Cummington
Dalton
Danvers
Dartmouth
Dedham
Deerfield
Dennis
Dighton
Douglas
Dover
Dracut
Dudley
Dunstable
Duxbury
East Bridgewater
East Brookfield
East Longmeadow
Eastham
Easthampton
Easton
Edgartown
Egremont
Erving
Essex
Everett
Fairhaven
Fall River
Falmouth
Fitchburg
Florida
Foxborough
Framingham
Franklin
Freetown
Gardner
Georgetown
Gill
Gloucester
Goshen
Gosnold
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Granby
Granville
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Greenfield
Groton
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Halifax
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Hancock
Hanover
Hanson
Hardwick
Harvard
Harwich
Hatfield
Haverhill
Hawley
Heath
Hingham
Hinsdale
Holbrook
Holden
Holland
Holliston
Holyoke
Hopedale
Hopkinton
Hubbardston
Hudson
Hull
Huntington
Ipswich
Kingston
Lakeville
Lancaster
Lanesborough
Lawrence
Lee
Leicester
Lenox
Leominster
Leverett
Lexington
Leyden
Lincoln
Littleton
Longmeadow
Lowell
Ludlow
Lunenburg
Lynn
Lynnfield
Malden
Manchester By The Sea
Mansfield
Marblehead
Marion
Marlborough
Marshfield
Mashpee
Mattapoisett
Maynard
Medfield
Medford
Medway
Melrose
Mendon
Merrimac
Methuen
Middleborough
Middlefield
Middleton
Milford
Millbury
Millis
Millville
Milton
Monroe
Monson
Montague
Monterey
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Newbury
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Oakham
Orange
Orleans
Otis
Oxford
Palmer
Paxton
Peabody
Pelham
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Pepperell
Peru
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Phillipston
Pittsfield
Plainfield
Plainville
Plymouth
Plympton
Princeton
Provincetown
Quincy
Randolph
Raynham
Reading
Rehoboth
Revere
Richmond
Rochester
Rockland
Rockport
Rowe
Rowley
Royalston
Russell
Rutland
Salem
Salisbury
Sandisfield
Sandwich
Saugus
Savoy
Scituate
Seekonk
Sharon
Sheffield
Shelburne
Sherborn
Shirley
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Southampton
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Southbridge
Southwick
Spencer
Springfield
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Templeton
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Tisbury
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Tyringham
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Warwick
Washington
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Wellfleet
Wendell
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West Boylston
West Bridgewater
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Westborough
Westfield
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Westhampton
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Weston
Westport
Westwood
Weymouth
Whately
Whitman
Wilbraham
Williamsburg
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Winchendon
Winchester
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Winthrop
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Worcester
Worthington
Wrentham
Yarmouth

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Obtaining a marriage license in Massachusetts

All persons who wish to be married in Massachusetts must have a marriage license issued within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Out-of-State marriage licenses cannot be used in Massachusetts.

The legal age to marry in Massachusetts is 18 (M.G.L. ch. 207, s. 33A). All people who marry in the state must have a marriage license issued in Massachusetts by any city or town clerk (M.G.L. ch. 207, s. 28).

Proper identification is necessary. You may be required to show a certified birth certificate.

Marriage licenses are issued from any Massachusetts city or town hall.  To locate a local contact in your city or town, please visit Commonwealth Clerk's.  You may also call Citizen Information Service at 617-727-7030 or 800-392-6090 for additional information. 

ID Requirement: Picture ID such as a driver's license.
You should know your Social Security numbers.

Residency Requirement: Do not have to be a resident of Massachusetts.

Application Requirement: Both the bride and groom must appear in person at the time of applying.

• This requirement is applicable to both residents and non-residents of the Commonwealth. 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.

If Divorced: You are not 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 you are uncertain as to the absolute date of your divorce, you 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.

Waiting Period: 3 days. Sundays and holidays are included in the three days, but the day the application is made is not. For example, if you apply on Friday, your license will be issued on or after Monday. Check with your town clerk to determine whether you must pick it up in person, or if it can be mailed.

• Obtaining a Waiver of the Waiting Period: Yes. According to MGL Ch. 207:30, if both parties are residents, or non-residents, or one of each, and they need to dispense with the three days, they may do so by applying to the judge of a probate or district court to have the license issued without delay, after filing intentions with the clerk. Under extraordinary or emergency circumstances, such as if the death of either party is imminent or the female is nearing the end of her pregnancy, an authorized request by a minister or clergyperson or an attending physician shall suffice and the clerk can issue the certificate without delay.

Fees: The fee for filing the Intention of Marriage varies from town to town. The state statute stipulates a fee of $4 for the license but it allows cities and towns by a vote of their city councils, boards of selectmen or town meeting, or by a change in the by-laws, to set their own fee.

Medical Certificate: NO.

Please note the procedures and timelines described below.

This information is provided by Communicable Disease Control within the Department of Public Health.

Other Tests:

No blood test required.

Under 18:

Parental consent is needed if under 18 years of age. If you are between 16-18 years of age, one of your parents or guardian must be with you and provide written consent.

If you are under 16 years of age, you will need both the written consent of your custodial parent or guardian and the written approval of a judge of the Orphans' Court Division of the Court of Common Pleas.

If you are under 18, pregnant or have a child, and show a certificate from a licensed physician stating you are pregnant or have had a child, the parental consent requirement may be waived.

Proxy Marriages:

No.

Cousin Marriages:

Yes.

Common Law Marriages:

No.

Solemnization Authority: Yes, it is possible for a non-minister or non-justice of the peace (such as a relative or family friend) to obtain special permission to perform a marriage from the Governor. Call the Governor's office at 617. 727. 5787 to obtain an application for a one-time special appointment to solemnize a marriage. After approval, a $25 fee is paid to the Commissions Division of the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

Same Sex Marriages: Yes, as of May 17, 2004. However, with legal challenges to the Massachusetts state law, some local jurisdictions may have residency requirements and/or not issue marriage licenses to gay couples. Check with your local authorities to see how they are handling this issue.

Miscellaneous: If either of the parties has arrived as an immigrant from a foreign country within five days, the application may be filed at any time before the marriage, and the certificate shall be issued at any time after the filing.

Officiants: Ordained ministers of the gospel may perform marriages. Before performing marriages, ministers are required to apply for a certificate from the state. For applications visit the Commonwealth of Massachusetts website. You must file a copy of your ordination certificate and a statement from the church saying that you are in good standing. Ministers must keep records of all marriages they perform. Also, ministers must return a certificate of the marriage to the town clerk or registrar who issued the marriage license and to the town clerk of the town where the marriage was performed.

If an out-of-state member of the clergy is to perform the marriage, the clergy person 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

One Ashburton Place, Room 1719
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 727-2836

Officiant for a Day: In Massachusetts, a couple can choose to have a family friend or relative perform their wedding ceremony. In order to become a "Justice of the Peace" for a day, you must fill out an application from the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth. The process takes 4-6 weeks to complete.

After filling out the application and sending it back, you will then receive a letter from the Secretary of Commonwealth granting permission for the person to perform the wedding ceremony. The letter will give you further instructions to complete the process. There is a $25 fee to apply. For complete details and an application, click here.

Notary Publics cannot perform weddings in Massachusetts.

Valid: License is valid for 60 days.

Witnesses: Witnesses are not required.

Copy of Certificate of Marriage:

Maryland Division of Vital Records
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
P.O. Box 68760
Baltimore, MD 21215-0020
Telephone: (410) 764-3038

It is important that you verify all information with your city or town hall before making any wedding or travel plans.

Please Note: State and county marriage license requirements often change. The above information is for guidance only and should not be regarded as legal advice.

Massachusetts County Clerk's Office

 
Adams Town Clerk
Adams, MA
413.743.8320


Barnstable Town Hall
Barnstable, MA
508.790.6200


Belmont Town Clerk
Boston, MA
617.489.8201


Cambridge City Clerk
Cambridge, MA
617.349.4260


Dedham Town Clerk
Dedham, MA
781.326.1638


Edgartown Town Clerk
Edgartown, MA
508.627.6110


Fall River City Clerk
Fall River, MA
508.324.2220


Fitchburg City Clerk
Fitchburg, MA
978.345.9592


Franklin Town Clerk
Greenfield, MA
413.772.0239


Great Barrington Clerk
Great Barrington, MA
413.528.3140


Lawrence City Clerk
Lawrence, MA
978.794.5803


Lowell City Clerk
Lowell, MA
978.970.4161


Nantucket Town Clerk
Nantucket, MA
508.228.7216


New Bedford City Clerk
New Bedford, MA
508.979.1450


Northampton City Clerk
North Hampton, MA
413.587.1224


Pittsfield City Clerk
Pittsfield, MA
413.499.9361


Plymouth Town Clerk
Plymouth, MA
508.830.4050


Salem City Clerk
Salem, MA
978.745.9595


Springfield City Clerk
Springfield, MA
413.781.8100


Taunton City Clerk
Taunton, MA
508.821.1024


Worcester City Clerk
Worcester, MA
508.799.1126


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