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Massachusetts Marriage

UPDATED: November 29, 2010

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Massachusetts marriage laws require individuals wishing to be married in the state to obtain a valid marriage license beforehand. Requirements for the application process vary depending on whether an applicant is a minor or has been previously married. The state of Massachusetts does not recognize common law marriage. See below for details on obtaining a valid Massachusetts marriage license.


Massachusetts Marriage Consent Laws

  • With Parental Consent: 16 and 17 year-olds must have at least one parent appear in person at the time of application and file written consent. Individuals under 16 will need, in addition to parental consent, written approval from a judge of the Orphans’ Court Division of the Court of Common Pleas.
  • Without Parental Consent: Adults 18 and older can marry in Massachusetts without parental consent.


Massachusetts Common Law Marriage

Massachusetts does not recognize common law marriages.


Massachusetts Marriage License

  • Residency:  No residency requirement.
  • Tests: None.
  • Identification Required:  Photo ID such as a driver’s license, and bringing a certified birth certificate is a good idea.
  • Appearance/Proxy:  Proxy marriages are not allowed in Massachusetts. Both parties must appear at the time of application.
  • Previous Marriages:  Previously married individuals do not have to provide documentation, but if the divorce occurred in the last 90 days, it may not be finalized yet. Be sure to check with the court that granted the divorce.
  • Length of License:  60 days from time of issuance.
  • Fees:  Vary from county to county, but a minimum of $4 and some range to $50, payable in cash only.
  • Authorized Massachusetts Officiants:  Any ordained minister. “Officiants for a day” are also a possibility, such as a family friend or relative. Apply with the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office.

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