Marriage License

Persons who wish to obtain a marriage license to be married in Massachusetts are required to:

  • be at least 18 years of age
  • appear in person together
  • provide satisfactory identification which includes residency (driver’s license)
  • swear or affirm to an oath under the penalties of perjury

In North Reading, the cost to apply for the marriage license is $25.   Information on how to obtain certified copies of the marriage certificate following the marriage can be found under “Vital Records.”

A marriage license is valid throughout Massachusetts for up to 60 days from the date of application.  A 3-day waiting period is required for processing the license, however a court waiver is available by petition before a district court judge under special circumstances (a fee to the court is required for this).  There is no longer a requirement for blood tests in Massachusetts.  

Although divorced persons are not required to provide a copy of their divorce decree, they must be certain that their divorce is FINAL or ABSOLUTE.  If a party is uncertain as to the absolute date of the divorce, they should contact the court where the divorce was granted.  Neither party may even enter into the Intention of Marriage until a divorce is FINAL or ABSOLUTE.   In Massachusetts, a divorce does not become ABSOLUTE until 90 days after the divorce nisi has been granted, regardless of the grounds for the divorce.
Persons are not required to be residents of the State of Massachusetts to be married in Massachusetts, however no person may apply for a license who would otherwise be prohibited from marrying in their home State or Country.

It is the responsibility of the officiant (member of the clergy or justice of the peace) to complete the marriage certificate and forward the same back to the Clerk’s Office for recording.  The certificate is not valid until it has been recorded in the office from where it originated.  

If a member of the clergy is performing the ceremony, the couple should ensure that they are in conformity with the appropriate religious tenets.  

If an out-of-state member of the clergy is to perform the marriage, a special certificate must be obtained from the Secretary of the Commonwealth prior to performing the ceremony.   Contact the Commissions Office for more information at: 617-727-2836.   

In some instances a couple may wish to have a “layperson” solemnize their marriage.  For more information regarding this click here or contact the Governor’s Council at 617-727-5787.

For more information on filing for a Marriage License in Massachusetts, please click here.