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License, when to be Obtained

The requirements for getting married vary from state to state. In New York there are two steps: you must get a marriage license, and you must have your marriage solemnized in a wedding ceremony performed by someone authorized to do so. The person officiating your marriage should review your marriage license before proceeding and is required to sign your license after the ceremony. However, if you did have a wedding ceremony without first obtaining a marriage license, according to NY Dom Rel Law § 25, your marriage will not be void for that reason. If you have questions related to the validity of your marriage, contact an experienced New York family lawyer at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates to discuss your concerns. With over 20 years of experience, we have the knowledge and resources to represent you in your family law matter with skill and sensitivity.

Application for a marriage license

Before you can get married in New York, NY Dom Rel Law § 13 states that you must obtain a marriage license. To get a marriage license, you must complete an application. While you can start the application online, you must go to a city or town clerk’s office to complete it. Both parties must appear, present identification, and sign the application. A fee is required. The license is valid for 60 days.

The application requires detailed information about you, your parents, where you were born, and prior marriages. If you were married before, you are required to include your previous spouse’s full name, date the divorce decree was granted, as well as the city, state, and country where the divorce was issued. You may be asked for proof of divorce, such as a copy of your divorce decree.

When you complete an application for a marriage license, you are actually completing an affidavit. When you sign it in the presence of the city or town clerk, you are swearing that the information that you included in the application is true. It is illegal to knowingly include false information on a marriage license application.

The marriage license is issued while you wait. You must wait a minimum of 24 hours after obtaining your marriage license before you can have your wedding. Once the 24 hours have passed, you can either have a civil or religious ceremony. Regardless of the type of ceremony you have, the person who officiates it must be authorized to do so.

Failure to obtain a marriage license

Despite the fact that the law requires obtaining a marriage license prior to solemnizing a marriage, the law also states that as long as a marriage is solemnized by someone authorized to do so, the failure to obtain a marriage license would not render an otherwise lawful marriage void. NY Dom Rel Law § 25.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Marriages 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
  4. Certification of marriage; state commissioner of health may furnish: New York Domestic Relations Law, section 20-b
Domestic Relations Law, section 25: License, when to be obtained

The provisions of this article pertaining to the granting of the licenses before a marriage can be lawfully celebrated apply to all persons who assume the marriage relation in accordance with subdivision four of section eleven of this chapter. Nothing in this article contained shall be construed to render void by reason of a failure to procure a marriage license any marriage solemnized between persons of full age nor to render void any marriage between minors or with a minor under the legal age of consent where the consent of parent or guardian has been given and such marriage shall be for such cause voidable only as to minors or a minor upon complaint of such minors or minor or of the parent or guardian thereof.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you have questions about the validity of your marriage, contact an experienced New York family lawyer to discuss the details of your case. The laws in New York law related to the requirements to getting married, custody, divorce, and child support are detailed and complicated. It is important to ensure that your interests are protected. 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: Suffolk County, Bronx, Nassau County, Queens, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Staten Island, and Westchester County.

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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.
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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
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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