Family Law Attorney
Marriage Essentials: Understanding the Laws and Regulations
The Law Office of J. Michael Clay presents a comprehensive FAQ guide to all you need to know about the legalities of tying the knot.
Who is Eligible to Get Married?
Before you can say “I do,” you must fulfill certain legal criteria. While specifics can differ from state to state, common requirements include:
- Reaching the minimum age of consent, often 18 years old, or younger with parental permission
- Not being closely related by blood to your intended spouse
- Possessing the mental capacity to comprehend the marriage commitment and its implications
- Being sober during the marriage vows
- Currently being single and not married to someone else
- Completing a blood test in some states
- Procuring an official marriage license
What Relationships Are Legally Forbidden in Marriage?
Laws across all states prevent individuals from marrying relatives, including siblings, half-siblings, parents, children, and various other close family members. Beyond these, some states might impose additional bans.
How Do We Acquire a Marriage License?
Marriage licenses are typically issued by any county clerk’s office in the state where your wedding will be. Depending on state regulations, there might be a small fee and sometimes a brief waiting period before the license becomes valid. Remember, licenses have expiration dates, so be aware of the timeframe and obtain a new one if needed.
What is the Procedure for Getting Marriage Certificate Copies?
Should you need an additional copy of a marriage certificate, for yourself or another, you can easily obtain this documentation. For guidance, visit the National Center for Health Statistics at www.cdc.gov/nchs/howto/w2w/w2welcom.htm. Expect to incur a modest fee for each requested copy.
Is a Blood Test Mandatory Before Marriage?
Some states still request blood tests before marriage, checking for certain diseases or genetic issues. However, HIV tests are not standard, and at times, informative HIV and AIDS material is provided. Depending on your test results and the state, the issuance of a marriage license may be affected.
Who Can Legally Officiate a Wedding?
A civil ceremony must be conducted by an authorized individual, such as a judge, court clerk, or a person with special, temporary legal power to marry couples. Religious ceremonies typically involve clergy members. Native American weddings can be presided over by tribal leadership or designated officials.
Are There Specific Requirements for the Wedding Ceremony?
Although no particular wording is legally mandated during the ceremony as long as the mutual intent to marry is clear, most couples choose to have witnesses, while not always a state requirement.
For questions or to schedule a Free Consultation, contact The Law Office of J. Michael Clay at 210-694-5205. Our team is dedicated to guiding you through the legalities of marriage to ensure your union commences smoothly and legally.
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