What makes a marriage license invalid

What Makes a Marriage License Invalid?

When dreaming of all the components of a perfect wedding day, it’s easy for your mind to drift to thoughts of your stunning white dress, jaw-dropping floral pieces, and your loved ones surrounding you as you tie the knot. There aren’t many of us who are thinking about applying for a marriage license or obtaining a marriage certificate. The paperwork is more of a boring afterthought compared to the happily ever after that awaits you! Let’s talk about your legal documents! What makes a marriage license invalid?

Before getting all wrapped up in the fun stuff, it’s important to know which documents you will need to have and how a marriage license can be deemed invalid. Similar to how you want a stellar wedding planner on your side to make your big day go smoothly, you’ll want to have all your ducks in a row in terms of paperwork so you can focus on enjoying your wedding with your partner.

License vs. Certificate

Before we get right into the gritty details about what makes a marriage license invalid, we first want to cover the differences between a marriage license and a marriage certificate.

A marriage license is a document you will apply for before you get married. This license is typically issued by a county clerk and officially allows you and your partner to marry based on the marriage laws in your county. Looking for a quick reference of marriage laws by state? Check out this comprehensive list at WeddingWire.

With regards to your marriage license, you will only need it up until your big day. Once you and your partner say “I do”, you can just about forget about your marriage license! A marriage certificate, on the other hand, is a certified vital record that you can use throughout your lifetime as proof of your marriage. You will need it in order to change your name on other official documents, such as your driver’s license and social security card.

If you’re looking for more detail on the differences between a marriage license and a certificate, head on over to this blog for more info.

What Makes a Marriage License Invalid?

Now that we’ve covered the basic differences between a license and a certificate, it’s time to discuss what can make a marriage license invalid. If you and your partner are 100% honest with all information when applying for the marriage license, then you have nothing to worry about. In most cases, an invalid marriage license is the result of fraud. We highly recommend researching your local marriage laws before beginning the process to ensure there are no surprises and you don’t accidentally make a mistake on your marriage license.

The following list covers what can cause a marriage license to be deemed invalid:

  • Underage – know the age of consent!
  • Proof of ID – ensure you have proper ID when applying (ex. Birth certificate)
  • Fraud
  • Medical examinations (if required)
  • Certificates to prove divorce if previously married – make sure to have this documentation if you were previously married
  • Additional documentation – if you or your partner is not a U.S. citizen, make sure to know what you’ll need to provide when applying
  • Fulfilling a waiting period (if required)

As long as you are aware of your local marriage laws before applying for your marriage license, and you are not intentionally trying to commit fraud, the process of applying should be quick and easy. If you are unsure of any of your local laws, it may be worth consulting with a lawyer beforehand.

Mistakes on Your License

A possible scenario after you apply for your marriage license is noticing a minor mistake after you both have signed the document. If this happens, don’t panic! Laws may differ depending on where you are applying, so you may need to do some quick research about the revision window for a document that is signed already.. 

You may be able to revise any mistakes on your marriage license for free if it’s within two weeks of initially signing it. Many states will ask you to file an affidavit to verify the mistake and the correction. We urge you to double check with your local county offices to confirm your local process to ensure there aren’t any additional hiccups.

We hope the above information was helpful in understanding what makes a marriage license invalid. If you need copies of certified vital records, like a birth, marriage, or divorce certificate, VitalChek can help. We pride ourselves on offering a completely online process backed with the highest standard of data security to give you peace of mind while you’re “skipping the line”.


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