Above the festivities and excitement that come with getting married, marriage is a legal institution. It must be recognized under the law for it to be valid. This is done through a marriage certificate. The certificate is issued within a month after the wedding, and always the marriage has been officiated by a marriage license through an authorized officiant or registered church. The certificate acts as proof of a valid marriage.
A marriage certificate template is needed for different purposes, from financial to legal. Due to its importance, couples are advised to keep two copies of the certificate, one copy for proof of marriage and the other for personal documentation. The second copy can be kept in safe storage such as a bank. It is important to obtain the document so that the marriage can be legally recognized. So, as much as you will be celebrating the beginning of your marriage life with your partner, do not get carried away with the festivities and forget to obtain this certificate. This article will deliberate the importance of a marriage certificate and how to get one.
What is a Marriage Certificate?
A marriage certificate is defined as an official record of a couple’s marital status. It is used to confirm the existence of a legal marriage. The certificate typically includes an acknowledgment of the marital status, date, location of the wedding, and the couple’s details. It is issued by city and county officials or other governmental agencies post-wedding through the marriage officiant. Couples can apply for as many copies as they need.
Remember, without the certificate, you or your spouse cannot undertake certain legal or formal procedures such as name changing, adding the spouse’s name as a beneficiary of your employment benefits, adding their name to your credit cards and bank accounts, and in some cases adding them to your IRS tax profile.
Benefits of a Marriage Certificate
Having a marriage certificate can be beneficial to any couple who uses it. Some of the expected benefits that come with using the document include:
- A marriage certificate template ensures that the government recognizes each legal marriage and adds it to its records. This registration is essential when it comes to resolving marital disputes in court. The marriage certificate is presented to the court in legal cases to ascertain that the two individuals were married.
- The certificate is also a symbol of a couple’s marital status, which allows them to exercise their privileges as married individuals. Such privileges include estate survivorship after a spouse’s death, life insurance benefits, etc. The certificate has to be presented in such cases.
- When couples travel abroad, they must produce a marriage certificate as proof of marriage. Be it for business or personal travels. The certificate holds more weight than a spouse visa, and most governments won’t accept a spouse visa without a marriage certificate.
- Marriage certificates are also used in passport applications, name changing, and spouse visa applications. This is more so for spouse visa applications. Foreign countries do not approve visa applications without a marriage certificate as a form of attestation from the origin country.
- Foreign countries require submission of a marriage certificate attestation from a couple’s home country before issuing a spouse visa. Yet, for the home country to give the attestation, the couple ought to have a marriage. Therefore, it would be impossible to get a spouse visa without the certificate.
- Couples who marry through their religious authorities require the certificate to get their marriage acknowledged by the government. Else, the marriage may not be considered legal.
When to Use it?
A marriage certificate template can be used in multiple day-to-day scenarios. Common instances when the certificate would come in handy include:
The first and more straightforward instance is when name changing. Name changing is a common practice when couples get married, where one partner takes up the name of the other partner. When applying for a name change, the local social security office will typically require an individual to present a marriage certificate with a birth certificate, ID, and social security card. With the marriage certificate as proof of a legal marriage, the individual can be issued an updated social security card with their adopted name, after which they can now change their name on bank accounts, leases, contracts, titles, etc.
Sharing health benefits
Insurance companies and employers require a valid marriage certificate to add an individual as a beneficiary based on a marital contract to any health insurance plans or benefits. In addition, if the policyholder passes on, the surviving spouse must also produce the marriage certificate to ascertain the existing relationship with the deceased policyholder.
Couples can file tax returns jointly as long as they are legally married. The IRS will thus require an affirmation of the marriage given by the marriage certificate. However, since the joint taxpayer account name must attest to the marital status, a social security card indicating the name change must also be presented as an additional requirement.
Applying for a loan or mortgage
When applying for a mortgage or a joint loan, couples will typically be asked to submit a marriage certificate to prove they are indeed married to each other. Therefore, establishing the nature of the loanees is essential in assigning obligations. In such cases, a photocopy or fax of the certificate will generally be enough.
The certificate can be used as proof of identity in various circumstances, such as opening a bank account and applying for a passport. It is also used when gifting spouses tax-free gifts, filing custody changes, and in estate planning to distribute property to spouses, for example, through elective share.
Marriage Certificate Vs. Marriage License
A marriage license is defined as a legal permit to get married issued by the government to couples before the wedding. Upon receipt, couples can proceed to get their wedding officiated and exchange vows. However, it must be signed before it is submitted to the county or government. Thus, unlike a marriage certificate issued after the wedding, couples cannot hold a legal wedding before obtaining a marriage license. Also, a marriage certificate cannot be issued without submission of the license.
A marriage license is a permit, whereas a certificate is legal proof of marriage. Also, marriage licenses have a validity deadline, unlike marriage certificates with no expiration dates. So, if the wedding is not held within the validity timeframe of the license, the document’s provisions become null and void, and a new marriage license must be obtained.
Basic Information on a Marriage Certificate
Government officials usually issue marriage certificate templates after the wedding. Since it is a legal document to show proof of marriage, you cannot make one for yourself that is of legal value. Nonetheless, you can still create one for remembrance or as a decoration that you can hang on the wall or share with your family. Some of the information to include in the marriage certificate template include:
- Both couples’ full names
- The venue where the marriage ceremony will take place
- The names of the people who attended the wedding, including the name of the person who officiated the wedding, witnesses, or a lawyer who will certify the certificate
Marriage Certificate Templates
To further educate our readers on the application of marriage certificates, we have provided free downloadable templates on our site. The templates display the type of information needed in a standard marriage certificate. This is meant to prepare our readers on how complete the document correctly. This, in turn, saves time and frustration when filling out the government-issued marriage certificate template. Note that the templates provided on our site are for entertainment, educational, and non-official purposes only. The templates cannot be used as legal proof of marriage in any state.
How to Apply for an Official Marriage Certificate
Different countries have different rules on how one can obtain a marriage certificate. It is, therefore, important for you to check with the relevant authorities on how you can obtain one. However, if you are getting married in the United States, you will be required to visit a government office and fill out a marriage certificate application form to obtain a marriage certificate.
Then, you will be given the certificate after a specified period if the wedding has already taken place. If the wedding is yet to take place, you will be required to bring the relevant documents signed and witnessed by the relevant parties at the wedding. Some of the information that you will be required to fill when applying for the official marriage certificate include:
- Your name and your spouse’s name
- The exact date on which the marriage took place or will be taking place
- The country/venue of the marriage
- The relationship of the married couples
- Your contact information
- A copy of your photo ID
How to Get a Marriage Certificate?
Acquiring a marriage certificate is not a complicated process. The main focus should be to ensure the process is compliant with set guidelines in the respective jurisdiction.
Below is a refined procedure on how couples can get their marriage certificate after the wedding:
Step 1: Set the date and place for your wedding
The first step is to set a date and place for your wedding. It would be best to remember the standard expiration durations of marriage licenses – typically 30 to 90 days. Also, it would be best to consider the timeframe needed to activate the marriage license after it is issued. Usually, most jurisdictions will require a minimum of 72 hours (from issuance) for the license to be valid. Therefore, the wedding cannot be 24 hours after the issuance of the license. The venue for the wedding should also be chosen carefully to prevent inconveniences. Finally, be aware that the location of the wedding determines the county where the marriage license and certificate template will be filed.
Step 2: Visit the county clerk
With the chosen date, venue, and location fixed, the next step is to visit the local county clerk’s office to apply for the license. Applicants must, however, submit the following information to qualify for a license. This includes proof of identity (ID, social security card), parent’s details (names, date of birth or death), a witness (friend or relative who has known you for more than six months), application fees ($30-$150 depending on the state) and proof of eligibility to remarry for individuals who were previously married; this can be in the form of a divorce certificate for divorcees and death certificate for widows/widowers. If a name change is needed, it can be done at this stage at no additional cost.
Step 3: Get the required signatures
Next, specific signing requirements must be fulfilled to authenticate the license. Most states will require signatures from the couple, the officiant, and two witnesses. Both partners should be present during the signing and must supply their signatures on the document. The officiant signing the document must be ordained to officiate a marriage, and it can thus be a priest, ordained friend, or judge. Their title should be captured in the document.
Step 4: Officiant complete the marriage certificate
Once you’ve obtained the marriage license, the county clerk can obtain the marriage certificate. This is done through the marriage officiant. The officiant mails or drops off the marriage license to the county clerk. The county will then issue the certificate. However, to obtain a copy, you must apply for one. Couples can apply for as many copies as they need. Processing will typically be done in a few days or weeks, and the copy is then mailed to you, or you can pick it up at the county clerk’s office.
How to Create a Marriage Certificate in Word
If you are looking to create a Marriage certificate template on MS Word to share with your friends or simply hand it in your house, the process is simply much straight forward.
Step 1: Open Word and Click on File
Step 2: Select New and Search for Certificates
Step 3: Select one that suits you best and then clicks on create
Step 4: Edit the marriage certificate template you have chosen. Make sure that the words, color, shape, and everything else are to your liking.
Step 5: Review and Save
After making sure that everything is well captured in the marriage certificate template, proceed to save the file and then print it or send it to your friends via email.
How to Print a Certificate
After creating the marriage certificate template, the last step is to share it with your friends or print it to hang in your house. If you choose to go with the latter, there are different printing formats and sizes that you should consider, such as:
- 36 x 48
- 24 x 36
- 22 x 28
- 18 x 24
- 16 x 24
- 11 x 17
You can choose to use online printing services to help you print the marriage certificate or simply print one from your home or office if you have a printer. Just make sure to select the right printing paper, get a frame from your local stores or online to frame the certificate, and you are all done.
Love is beautiful so is the wedding day, as well as the marriage certificate template, which should be lovely to commemorate that day. A marriage certificate is a legal paper that has both the couple’s, witnesses and the Bishop’s signature in it showing that one has a right for marrying and has fulfilled all the customary laws that they should according to the rules and laws of a country.
Countries also have rules of who is to pay dowry, you may find that it is either the groom or the bride paying dowry like the Indians for example the bride is the one who pays dowry to the groom. The marriage certificate is offered by a registered Bishop before a congregation or an accredited lawyer to perform the act. A marriage certificate offered by a legal lawyer only requires a few details and does not require a whole congregation but just the couple, two witnesses and the information to be filled on the marriage certificate.
The marriage certificate template is a paper made in a special way that will be attractive to commemorate the day in a special way that will be remembered by the couple getting married.
It is known so far that the marriage certificate is the only legal document that a married couple has to show and prove to family and friend also the world that they are married and the online marriage certificate templates is a brilliant and readymade tool which have made it cheap for many to own a marriage certificate especially with the help of the online marriage certificate templates.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to get a marriage certificate online?
Marriage certificates can be obtained online through VitalRecordsOnline. However, knowing where to get a marriage certificate online is critical for couples who have to travel often or simply those who live far away from the county clerk’s office. Thus, they will have to find an alternative way to get the certificate. Luckily, most states now offer digital copies of marriage certificates on their websites.
Can anyone obtain a copy of a wedding certificate?
Typically, only the couple can obtain copies of the marriage certificate. However, under exceptional circumstances, parties like family members, attorneys, and government agencies can obtain the document provided they give the necessary information.
How long does it take to obtain a marriage certificate?
Obtaining the original copy of the marriage certificate from the county clerk’s office takes about 2-4 weeks. However, copies of the certificate can be obtained 24-48 hours after the request.
How much does a marriage certificate cost?
The cost of obtaining a marriage certificate will differ from state to state, depending on the copies needed. Ordinarily, one copy of the certificate will cost between $5 and $26, and additional copies cost from $3 to $15.
What is a keepsake marriage certificate?
A keepsake marriage certificate is simply a decorative certificate that one creates for décor purposes. A keepsake marriage certificate is different from a formal marriage certificate in that it is only used for decorative purposes, while a legal entity issues a legal marriage certificate to act as proof of your marriage.
What is a valid marriage certificate?
A valid marriage certificate is a legal document issued by the person who officiates a marriage or a government authority that authorizes the marriage.
Can I use a designed certificate for legal or business purposes?
No! you cannot use a designed certificate for legal or business purposes. If you design a marriage certificate, know that you can only use it for decorative purposes. You cannot use the certificate as proof of marriage or for identification purposes. It is simply a decorative document that you can share with your friends, relatives, or hand in your house.
What is the purpose of a marriage certificate?
Marriage certificates are important for several reasons. Some of the most common reasons why a marriage certificate is important for any married couple include; sharing health benefits, changing your name, applying for a mortgage or loan, proving identity, etc.
When is a marriage certificate issued?
A marriage certificate template serves as legal proof of marriage between married couples. The certificate is usually issued within a month after a wedding. This usually happens regardless of whether the wedding took place with a marriage license at an officiate or registered religious facility.