Marriage in Delaware

When you are planning your wedding, that is one of the most exciting and demanding times of your life.  There are dozens of choices to be made, from the ceremony location to the caterer to the reception and with each decision comes several more that must be made.  It can be downright chaotic!  Well, at least in Delaware, getting a marriage license and taking care of the wedding basics are pretty simple.  Delaware is one of the few states in which just about all of their marriage rules and regulations are straightforward.

Getting the License

You do not have to be a Delaware resident in order to get married in this state.  You simply need to present some sort of photo identification, like a driver’s license, state identification card, or passport.

If you have been married previously, you will need to show proof of the end of the marriage.  Either bring the original or a certified copy of the divorce decree (for dissolved marriages) or of the death certificate (for marriages that ended because of the death of a spouse).

The fee for a marriage certificate in Delaware is $35, and it is payable in cash only.  No checks or credit cards are accepted.

The license is valid for a period of 30 days from the date of issue.

Waiting Period

Many states have eliminated waiting periods for marriage certificates; however, Delaware still has a waiting period in place.  If one member of the couple is a Delaware resident, the wait is 24 hours.  If, though, both the prospective bride and groom are nonresidents, they must wait for 96 hours.

Authorization

If either member of the couple is on parole or on probation, special authorization from the courts will have to be obtained before a marriage certificate will be issued.

Special parental consent is required for anyone under the age of 18 who wishes to marry.  The Clerk of the Peace office has forms that can be filled out by the parents of minors.

Wedding Officiants

Clerks of the peace, as well as any ordained minister, can perform a wedding ceremony.  Couples who opt to have their ceremonies performed at the office of the Clerk of the Peace will be charged an additional $20 for the civil marriage ceremony.

Special Marriage Types

Delaware does not recognize or allow for any special types of marriage.  There are no proxy marriages, no cousin marriages, no same-sex marriages, and no common law marriages.

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