Do you need another copy of your marriage certificate? Or did you lose your original one and need to replace it?
Well, you’ve come to the right place! But first, a little primer on marriage certificates.
What is a marriage certificate?
A marriage certificate is an official document that proves your marriage happened.
It’s not the same as your marriage license, which is a piece of paper you received before your wedding authorizing your marriage.
After your wedding, your officiant (the person who performed your wedding) will send your marriage license back to the county office where it was issued.
The county office issues your certified marriage certificate and mails it to you. It should arrive 2-4 weeks after your wedding.
What do marriage certificates look like?
A marriage certificate is an official-looking document with details about your wedding.
It will include the date, time, and location of your wedding along with signatures from everyone involved.
They come in all shapes and sizes but the words ‘Marriage Certificate’ will be front and center.
Why do I need my marriage certificate?
- To legally change your name. Your marriage certificate allows you to legally change your name after marriage. The first thing you’ll need to do is take your certified marriage certificate to the Social Security Administration to change the name on your Social Security Card. Then you can start updating your name on your driver’s license, U.S. Passport, and personal accounts like banks, credit cards, etc. You can’t change your name without it.
- If you plan to add yourself or a spouse to a benefit plan. Many employer-sponsored benefit plans will require you to show proof of your marriage in order to add a spouse to the plan.
- If you plan to take out a loan. Lenders may request to see a certified copy of your marriage certificate to prove your marital status.
- If you get audited by the IRS. The IRS will want to verify your marital status.
Where do I get a certified copy of my marriage certificate?
Contact the county office that issued your marriage license to purchase a certified copy of your marriage certificate.
A certified copy is a duplicate of your original marriage certificate issued directly from the county office where you received your marriage license.
Fees typically range from $5-20 for each certified copy and most offices will be able to process your request in a few business days.
If you are unable to reach the county office where your license was issued, try contacting the vital records office in the state where you were married. They will be able to help you request a copy.
The guidelines vary by state, but all requests should include:
- Full names of both spouses at the time of marriage
- Month, day, and year of the marriage
- Place of marriage (city or town, county, and state)
- The purpose for requesting a certified copy of your marriage certificate
- Daytime telephone number (include area code)
How many copies of my certified marriage certificate should I get?
If you’re going to be using your marriage certificate to update your name after marriage, we suggest having at least two marriage certificates on hand.
There may be situations where you need to mail in your marriage certificate which may delay you from changing your names elsewhere, so it’s nice to have an extra copy.
Plus, your marriage certificate is something you’ll need to hold onto for the rest of your life.
Are you newly married and looking to start your name change?
Getting a physical copy of your marriage certificate is step 1 of many in your name change process.
If you’re looking to save time, eliminate stress, and want an easy name change, check out NewlyNamed.
We hope this guide was helpful. Please reach out if you have any questions!
P.S. If you’re looking for more information, check out our complete guide to a name change after marriage.