How to Have a Valid Marriage in the State of Florida
Deciding to enter into the commitment of marriage is an exciting time in a couple’s relationship. Once the decision to take this step has been made, there is a set procedure to make a marriage legally binding and acceptable. Though similar, each state has its guidelines and regulations for obtaining a valid marriage. However, before outlining the steps to take to have a valid marriage in the state of Florida, there are some facts pertaining to a Florida marriage which are important to understand.
- Each party must be 18 years of age or older to enter into marriage without parental consent.
- Parental consent is necessary for anyone age 16 or 17 and any younger than 16; not only is parental consent required but a county judge must issue the marriage license.
- There is no marriage by proxy, only by appearance
- There is no common law marriage in Florida
- There is no residency requirement, but there is a 3 day waiting period following the issuing of the marriage license. This 3 day waiting period will be waived if the couple has, within the past 12 months, completed the state-sanctioned Florida pre-marital course. Also, non-residents are not required to wait.
- No blood test is required
- Both parties must appear at the time of the application, and each have a picture ID or valid passport and their social security number.
- As of this writing, there is a fee of $93.50 unless the Florida pre-marital course has been completed, and then the fee is reduced up to $32.50.
- The marriage can take place in any Florida county regardless of which county the license is issued in.
- A county court judge or clerk of the circuit court can issue a marriage license under his or her hand and seal.
- You apply for a license at any county clerk’s office in any county.
- The marriage license is valid for 60 days, during which time the ceremony must be performed.
- If a party has been previously married, the date of the death or divorce must be provided. And, if the death or divorce has occurred within the past 30 days, a copy of the death certificate or divorce decree must be provided.
- Judicial officers, including active and retired judges and clerks of the circuit courts, ordained ministers, and state public notaries, can legally perform the contractual marriage ceremony.
Understanding all of the above, the steps to having a valid marriage in the state of
- Apply, both parties together, for a marriage license
- Pay the fee
- Have the union solemnized before the proper authority within 60 days
- Be sure the required marriage documents are correctly signed following the ceremony and returned to the state for recording.
These steps, when followed correctly, will ensure a legal Florida contract of marriage.