You are planning to get married – you cannot forget the marriage license. This license is sort of a permit, kind of like a driver’s license, stating that you are legally allowed to marry, although obtaining one does not mean that you are married. Here is the skinny about marriage licenses, in Virginia:
Age Requirements – The minimum age for marriage in the Commonwealth of Virginia is sixteen (16), for both parties; however, if either party is under eighteen (18), consent to the marriage must be given by the father, mother or legal guardian (special provisions are made in Virginia law to allow marriage for under age parties when the female is pregnant and for situations in which under age applicants have no parent or legal guardian).
Blood tests – Blood Tests are not required, in Virginia, but you will have to swear, under oath, that you can get married. For instance, you cannot get married if:
- You have not yet dissolutioned an earlier marriage
- You are related: ancestor and or descendant; brother and a sister; uncle and a niece; aunt and a nephew — whether the relationship is by half- or whole-blood or adoption.
- Either party doesn’t have the mental capacity to consent.
Divorcee – In Virginia’s divorced persons, there is no statutory waiting period before marriage after the divorce is granted.
Waiting Period – After you get your license, there is no waiting period; you may get married immediately after obtaining the license, but you must get married within sixty (60) days.
Destination Weddings – If the marriage is performed outside of Virginia, file for a license in the state or country in which the marriage was performed.
Marriage Ceremony – A minister of any religious denomination must be authorized by a circuit court to celebrate the rites of matrimony. To obtain such authorization, the minister must produce proof of his ordination and regular communion with the religious society of which he is a reputed member. In addition, the court in each city and county has appointed persons who are eligible to perform civil marriage ceremonies. For marriages between persons belonging to any religious society which has no ordained minister, refer to Section 20-26, Code of Virginia, Domestic Relations.
Witnesses – There is no statutory requirement that witnesses be present at the marriage ceremony. If there are witnesses, they can sign the Marriage Register.
Marriage Record – The minister or other person officiating at the marriage must complete and sign the Marriage Register and the Marriage Return and forward both forms to the clerk of the court who issued the license within five (5) days after the ceremony is performed. The following information should be included: full name of groom, full maiden name of bride, date and place of marriage and the name of the circuit court that issued the marriage license.
Virginia Division of Vital Records – Contact them if you need a Certified Copy of the Marriage License ($12.00 each copy).
While we are talking about getting married, if you are having a reception after the ceremony, and you are serving alcohol, make sure you are legal there, too. There is a one-day alcohol permit that allows serving alcohol that you can apply for, here. If you have a question if you need one, check ABC Consulting’s handy infographic.
*Disclaimer: This article and its contents represent the opinions of the author only. It is not intended to convey or constitute legal advice. ABC Consulting is a private consulting firm, and in no way do we represent the VA Dept. of Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority. You should not act upon any such information without seeking qualified professional advice based upon your situation. r