Are You Getting Married?
You may apply for a Marriage License at any Town (or City) Clerk's Office in Massachusetts. However, the town or city that you apply to is where your license will be kept on file and where you will return for certified (official) copies after you are married. The Marriage License is valid for 60 days after the date of application.
The Bride and Groom (or Party A and Party B) must appear together. Both parties must be 18 years of age or older. A birth certificate may be required to show proof of age. If either party is under 18, a court order from a probate or district court where the minor resides must be obtained before the marriage intentions can be filed.
The fee for a Marriage License in Chatham is $30. Fees vary from town to town.
Massachusetts requires a three-day waiting period once intentions are filed. The day you apply does not count, but you may pick up the certificate (license) on the third day (e.g. If you file on Tuesday, you may pick the certificate up on Friday). It is possible to obtain a waiver of the three-day waiting period.
Picking Up License
Prior to the ceremony, the marriage license will need to be picked up in person. The Bride, Groom, Party A, Party B, or a person designated by the couple may pick up the license. The individual who picks up the license must verify that all of the information on the license is correct. We do not mail marriage certificates prior to the ceremony (sorry, no exceptions).
Waiting Period Waiver
If you are unable to wait the three days and need your license issued immediately, both parties must apply for their marriage license at the Town Clerk's Office, then they must apply for a waiver at a probate or district court. After a quick hearing, the court may issue a certificate allowing the marriage license to be issued (which must be brought back to the Town Clerk), who will then issue your marriage license. At that point, the marriage may then be performed without delay.
If you need to waive the three-day waiting period, you will need to contact one of the Courts below:
It is not required, but highly recommended that you reach out to the court before your arrival, to ensure that there is a judge on duty the day that you are planning to apply for your waiver.
- Orleans District Courthouse: 508-255-4700, ext. 4
- Barnstable District Courthouse: 508-375-6771
- Barnstable Family and Probate Court: 508-375-6710
Blood Test Requirement
Pursuant to Chapter 388 of the Acts of 2004, blood tests are no longer required for any couple applying for their Marriage License on or after January 28, 2005.
Divorced & Widowed Applicants
You are not required to present a divorce certificate when filing intentions to marry. However, it is extremely important that an individual who has been divorced be certain that his/her divorce is absolute. If you are uncertain as to the absolute date of your divorce, you should contact the court where the divorce was granted.
In Massachusetts, a divorce does not become absolute until 90 days after the divorce nisi has been granted, regardless of the grounds for divorce. There are no special requirements for a widow or widower who is remarrying.