Massachusetts Marriage Laws

Those who wish to marry in the State of Massachusetts must have a valid marriage license issued in Massachusetts. Both parties of the marriage must apply for a marriage license together. The license is issued three days after application and is valid for 6 months. The minimum fee for a marriage license is $4 as defined by State law; however the rate may vary from office to office.

You must be of legal age to marry (18-years-old minimum). If one or both of the people to be married is under 18, a court order must be obtained before application for a license.

Officials that can marry a couple in Massachusetts include: ordained ministers of the gospel, a justice of the peace or a non-minister or non-justice of the peace, such as a family friend, with special permission from the Governor. The officiate of the wedding must sign and date the license and return it to the clerk’s office from which is issued within 7 days. The clerk will record and return the license to the married couple.

You may not have a common law, proxy marriage or covenant marriage in Massachusetts. Cousin marriages and same sex marriages are allowed, however for same-sex marriages, some local jurisdictions have residency requirements and may not issue licenses to same-sex couples. Direct family line marriages are not allowed in the state of Massachusetts.


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