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How to Find Massachusetts Marriage Records
Massachusetts marriage records are official documents issued by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to validate marriages contracted in the state. The state’s Registry of Vital Records and Statistics is in charge of the administration of marriage records. Besides providing proof of marital unions, marriage records are also useful for certain legal and financial purposes. Couples need them when applying for tax benefits, loans, and citizenship as well as when opening joint accounts and acquiring assets. Massachusetts has recognized same-sex marriages since 2003 and currently provides records for such unions.
Are Massachusetts Marriage Records Public?
In Massachusetts, most vital records, like marriage records, are considered to be open and accessible to the public. However, there is restricted access to marriage records of persons born to unwed parents. Their marriage record can only be accessed by the bride and groom, their parents or guardians, and their legal representatives. Legal guardians and representatives must submit appropriate documents establishing their relationships to the couple named on the record.
Family Court records can include marriage records and divorce records. These records contain personal information of those involved and their maintenance is critical should anyone involved wish to make changes. Because of this both marriage and divorce records can be considered more difficult to locate and obtain than other public records, and may not be available through government sources or third party public record websites.
What are Massachusetts Marriage Records?
Massachusetts marriage records are documents issued by government officials for approval and conducted marriages in the state. There are two types of marriage records in Massachusetts: marriage licenses and marriage certificates.
Both government websites and organizations may offer divorce and marriage records. Similarly, third party public record websites can also provide these types of records. But because third party organizations are not operated or sponsored by the government, record availability may vary. Further, marriage and divorce records are considered highly private and are often sealed, meaning availability of these types of records cannot be guaranteed.
What are Massachusetts Marriage Licenses?
A Massachusetts marriage license is issued to two persons who intend to get married in the state. It is given before the wedding as official authorization that the marriage ceremony can proceed. A marriage license is issued three days after the parties involved file their marriage intentions together at the City/Town Clerk’s office. A marriage license is different from a marriage certificate, which is obtained after the marriage ceremony has been done.
How to Change Your Name After Marriage in Massachusetts
A name change after marriage in Massachusetts is facilitated by submitting a marriage certificate to the relevant agencies, including the Social Security Administration (SSA) office. This process involves completing a form SS-5 and providing proof of identity and a copy of the updated marriage certificate.
It is also essential that the name change reflects on the party's driver's license and identification. To do this, they must contact a local RMV service location. The required documents to complete this process are proof of citizenship, updated social security number, and any two documents proving their Massachusetts residency.
What are Massachusetts Marriage Certificates?
A marriage certificate is a document which proves that a valid marriage has been conducted. It establishes the legality of a marital union and gives the named couple certain benefits under state and federal laws. For example, Massachusetts couples need such certificates when applying for social security and tax benefits, health insurance, and US passports.
How Do I Get a Marriage License in Massachusetts?
To obtain a marriage license in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, both parties who intend to get married must apply together. The application can be made at any city or town in Massachusetts. This location does not have to be where the ceremony will be performed. The parties will fill a Notice of Intention of Marriage Form. They do not need to be residents of the state but must be 18 years or older. If any of the parties is under 18 years, written parental consent or judicial approval permitting the marriage is required. Evidence of age is proven by birth certificates. Both parties will also be required to provide valid government-issued photo IDs such as state IDs, passports, and driver’s licenses. Since 2005, the rule requiring a premarital blood test prior to obtaining a license has been abolished.
A Massachusetts marriage license costs $40 and there is a 3-day waiting period after receiving the document. Once a marriage license is granted, it is valid for 60 days.
After the marriage has been contracted, the officiant must provide proof of marriage. This is usually a signed license. It must be returned to the city or town clerk who issued it before the 60-day time period is up.
How Do I Obtain a Copy of My Marriage Certificate in Massachusetts?
The Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records and Statistics provides marriage certificates for marital unions contracted in the state. A certified copy of a Massachusetts marriage certificate can be requested in person, via mail, online, and by telephone. The requester should have the following information before requesting a record:
- The names of the married parties
- Date of marriage
- Place of marriage
- Proof of identification, such as driver’s license or government-issued photo ID
The fee for obtaining this marriage certificate varies based on the method of request. Hence, it is important for a requester to look at all fees and shipping information.
A requester can make an in-person request for a certified marriage certificate at the Registry Counter of the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics. Requests are taken from Monday to Friday, between 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. A copy of a marriage certificate costs $20 when requested in person. This can be paid in cash or with a check.
A request can also be made via mail by sending a completed Vital Records mail order form, proof of identification, and a check or money order payable to Commonwealth of Massachusetts to:
Registry of Vital Records and Statistics
150 Mt. Vernon St.
Dorchester, MA 02125
It takes 30 days to process this request. A copy of a marriage certificate requested by mail costs $32. However, this process can be sped up to 7-10 business days, by addressing the mail to the attention of Expedited Mail Service. Check the Massachusetts Vital Records Service Fee Schedule for the additional cost of this expedited service.