Planning a wedding is a big undertaking, to be sure. But sorting out the legal paperwork before you say "I Do" can be even more challenging. To help get you organized before your Big Day, The Huffington Post has put together a comprehensive, state-by-state guide to getting married. Read on for everything you need to know about getting hitched in all 50 states. --Susan Ory Powers
Residency Requirement And Waiting Period
Marriage in Utah does not require state residency for couples to apply for a marriage license, and there is no waiting after acquiring the license before the ceremony should take place.
People older than 18 may marry without consent of a third party.
a bride or groom who is younger than 18 and older than 16 to wed with the signed consent of a parent or guardian. For people seeking marriage who are 15 years old, legal conditions are limited to approval by the juvenile court, with the stipulation that the union is to the benefit of the minor and voluntary. The court may also impose special conditions, such as requiring the couple to get premarital counseling and requiring the minor to continue to attend school. However, if either person has been previously married, third-party approval is not legally essential, even if the bride or groom is younger than 18.
The marriage process in Utah begins with application for a license at any office of a county clerk. The license can cost up to $50. Although some county clerks do not charge a fee for a marriage license, there is a charge for two certified copies for the couple. Both bride and groom must be present to apply. If no ceremony takes place, the license expires in 30 days.
The couple must present government-authorized picture identification to the county clerk when applying for a license. Identification may be a passport, birth certificate, driver's license or state ID card. Information required for both includes full name, address, date and place of birth, race, Social Security number and names and birthplaces of parents (including the mother's maiden name). Those who were previously married must supply the date when the previous marriage ended and indicate whether the marriage terminated because of annulment, divorce or death.
Witnesses And Officiants
include clergy who are active with a religious organization and older than 18, Native American spiritualists, court judiciaries, magistrates of the United States and any Utah county clerk who agrees to solemnize marriages. Also eligible are the governor, lieutenant governor, mayors and county executives. Two witnesses to the ceremony who are older than 18 are compulsory. After the ceremony, the officiant signs a certificate of marriage and the marriage license and turns them over to the county clerk's office where the license was issued.
Same-sex marriage is
. The state constitution, Article I, Section 29, limits marriage in Utah to consisting "only of the legal union between a man and a woman." Furthermore, the law does not allow any other form of union to carry "the same or substantially equivalent legal effect." Known as Amendment 3, the proposed ban won overwhelming voter approval on the state's November 2004 ballot, mandating its inclusion in Utah's state constitution,
Did You Know?
For marriage in Utah, first cousins can marry only if both are older than 65 or conditionally if both are older than 55 "upon a finding by the district court, located in the district in which either party resides, that either party is unable to reproduce" as explained by
. Any closer family ties are forbidden, including marriage between parents and children, aunts and nephews, uncles and nieces and between brothers and sisters. A common-law marriage is allowed by Utah as detailed by the
. And then there is Utah's polygamy conundrum. In
The New York Times
," reporter John Schwartz explains that to become a state, Utah gave up allowing polygamous marriages circa 1890. In
The Huffington Post's
," Jennifer Dobner writes, "Most polygamist families practice in secret." But with the airing of HBO's fictional "
" and TLC's reality show "
," the legal issues on marriage in Utah have entered the limelight and the national dialogue.
See the full set of laws and regulations regarding marriage in Utah.
A name change following marriage in Utah can be a hassle. It's a good idea to start by getting certified copies of your marriage certificate, filing a name change petition, then changing your name on your driver's license and vehicle registration. Name changes must also be submitted to your employer, as well as the Social Security Administration and the U.S. passport agency. Also consider changing your name on voter registration forms, bank accounts, credit cards, frequent-flier accounts and utilities providers.