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Certification of Marriage; State Commissioner of Health may Furnish

Marriage records contain important information that the couple as well as government officials may need for a variety of reasons. According to NY Dom Rel Law § 20-b, the New York State Commissioner of Health has the responsibility of maintaining marriage records. Upon request and payment of a fee, certified copies of marriage records will be issued. There are many legal issues that may developed before marriage and throughout a marriage. If you are facing a challenging issue related to your marriage, it is important that you contact an experienced New York family lawyer who understands the complex legalities related to marriage, divorce, custody, and child support.

Certification of Marriage

The New York State Commissioner of Health has the responsibility of maintaining marriage records. The Commissioner has the authority to delegate related activities as he or she see fit. The Commissioner or someone he or she authorizes will issue a certification of a marriage upon payment of a fee. For purposes of legal proceedings, such certification is prima facie of the facts stated in the marriage certificate such as the names of the persons who married, their birth dates, their addresses, and the date the marriage was solemnized.

Besides legal proceedings, there are a variety of other reasons that a certified copy of a marriage certificate would be needed. For example, it may be needed to change your surname. The Social Security Administration requires a certified marriage record in order to complete a name change. It may also be required to prove your identity and new name for purposes of applying for a passport, opening a bank account, applying for a mortgage, or for adoption. In addition, a marriage certificate may be required to apply for marriage-based benefits such as employer health benefits.

The federal government is permitted to get marriage records from the Commissioner solely for use as statistical data.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Marriage licenses: New York Domestic Relations Law, section 13
  2. Records to be kept by the state department of health and the city clerk of the city of New York: New York Domestic Relations Law, section 20
  3. Certified transcripts of records; state commissioner of health may furnish: New York Domestic Relations Law, section 20-a
Domestic Relations Law, section 20-b: Certification of marriage; state commissioner of health may furnish
  1.  The state commissioner of health or person authorized by him shall, upon request, issue to any applicant a certification of any marriage registered under the provisions of this article, unless he is satisfied that the same does not appear to be necessary or required for judicial or other proper purposes. Any such certification of marriage made by such commissioner or person authorized to act for him shall be prima facie evidence in all courts and places of the facts therein stated.
  2.  Such certification shall contain a statement of the respective names, dates and places of birth and places of the then residence of each of the parties to such marriage and the date and place thereof.
  3.  Each applicant for a certification of marriage shall remit to the commissioner with such application a fee of thirty dollars in payment for the search of the files and records and the furnishing of such certification if a record thereof is found or for a certification that a search discloses no record of a marriage.
  4.  The federal agency in charge of vital statistics may obtain, at a fee acceptable to the commissioner, information from marriage records for use solely as statistical data.
Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

When you are faced with significant family matters, in is important that you are represented by someone who is experienced and knowledgeable. The New York family lawyers at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have over 2 decades of experienced representing individual in divorce, custody, and support matters. We will use our skill, knowledge, and resources to aggressively advocate for your interests. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Bronx, Brooklyn, Nassau County, Queens, Suffolk County, Long Island, Manhattan, Staten Island, and Westchester County.

Client Reviews
My ex-husband hadn't paid child support or the mortgage on the house as he was supposed to. Stephen Bilkis and his team of lawyers were amazing. They stopped the foreclosure on the house, Got a judgment against him and most importantly kept me and my children in the house. Can't say enough good things about him in the firm their compassion hard work and dedication were exceptional. I.G.
From the very first phone call to Stephen Bilkis' office, the staff was extremely polite and helpful in assisting me. Mr. Bilkis was honest and upfront with me from the beginning in what he projected the outcome of my case would be; in the end we got better results than either of us anticipated. He was very genuine and compassionate in understanding my situation and how this legal matter could effect not only myself but my family as well. I highly recommend this law firm and will most definitely continue using them for any future legal needs. Jarrett
Stephen has handled numerous estate matters, criminal matters and family court matters effectively and with a goal-oriented approach. He gets great results and is a results-oriented attorney. Dustin