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. Per state law, marriage records are categorized as Massachusetts public records and are available to interested person. 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.
There are mainly two types of marriage records in Massachusetts, marriage certificates and marriage licenses. Depending on the type of marriage record, interested persons can find Massachusetts public marriage records through the state Registry of Vital Records and Statistics (RVRS) and the clerks of Massachusetts towns and cities.
The RVRS is responsible for maintaining Massachusetts vital statistics and records like birth, death, and marriage record. Meanwhile, a marriage license can be sourced and obtained by contacting the clerk of the city or town where the parties to the marriage registered their intent to marry. Divorce records are the only type of vital records that are not maintained by the RVRS. To find divorce certificates in Massachusetts, one would need to mail or make a request in person at the probate and family court where the divorce was finalized.
Record seekers may also be able to find marriage records through third-party websites that offer public record searches. However, since these third-party websites are operated independently by private entities and are typically not sponsored by the government, the availability and accuracy of records may vary by website.
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.
How to Find Out if Someone is Married in Massachusetts
Interested parties can find out if someone is married by performing a marriage record search through the state Registry of Vital Records and Statistics (RVRS). This search would help an inquirer find marriage records the person may have, specifically any Massachusetts marriage certificate registered in their name. Request for marriage certificates through the RVRS are made either by completing and submitting a vital record mail order form by mail or in person at the RVRS address.
inquirers may also contact Massachusetts cities and town clerks to find out if the person has ever filed for or obtained a Massachusetts marriage license. Since there is no central database for recording marriage licenses, an inquirer will need to contact relevant city or town clerk individually to find these records. To narrow the search, the inquirer can focus mainly on the current or former city and towns where the individual resided.
Inquirers can also confirm that the individual’s marriage is still legally active by finding out if they have ever filed for divorce. Probate and family courts in Massachusetts are responsible for maintaining dissolution of marriage records also known as divorce records. Therefore, interested parties would need to contact or visit the probate and family court in the county where they believed the divorce was finalized to find dissolution of marriage records. Record requests may also be submitted by completing the request for copies form (PFC 18) and mailing it to the county’s probate and family court.
How to Check Marriage Status Online
Interested persons can check marriage status online by using the online databases maintained by the County Clerk in the county where the marriage license was issued. These searches can be conducted using the full name of the parties involved, their birth date, marriage dates or any relevant personal records or information. The RVRS does not maintain any tool or service records seekers can use to place an order online for marriage records. However, there are third-party websites that record seekers can use to make an online marriage certificate request.
What are Massachusetts Marriage Records?
Massachusetts marriage records are documents issued by government officials for approval and the conduction of 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.
Where to Find Massachusetts Free Marriage Records
To find free marriage records in Massachusetts, interested persons may visit the courthouse in the county where the marriage was recorded. These courthouses have self-service computers with which members of the public can search for public records pertaining to an individual. Inquirers can enter the full name or birth date of the subject of the marriage record to view any marital information related to the person. However, the requesting party will need to pay a nominal fee if they require copies of the record. There are also additional costs for requesting a certified copy bearing a raised seal.
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 application 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 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.
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 an 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.
Are Prenups Public Record in Massachusetts?
A prenuptial agreement (prenup), as defined by Massachusetts General Law Section 25, is a written agreement between parties to a marriage that places legal restrictions on any real or personal property that either party will continue to own or possess after the marriage. Prenups are not required to be disclosed by state law. Therefore, it may or may not be possible for the general public to request and examine these records.