Pennsylvania Marriage Records
A Pennsylvania marriage license is issued when an intended couple formally requests to have their union recognized through the Marriage License Bureau in a Pennsylvania county courthouse. A marriage certificate becomes available once the newlyweds file the license with the bureau. Many people request copies of marriage records because those documents are necessary to begin building a new life as a married couple, including buying a home together. There are many steps involved in completing a marriage registration and it is important to understand how to obtain these marriage documents and the differences between them. To learn how to find marriage license records, continue reading the sections below.
How to Obtain Marriage Records in Pennsylvania
A copy of marriage certificate records in Pennsylvania can only be obtained through the county courthouse that issued the original marriage license. The courthouse will conduct a marriage license search to ensure the license was in fact registered through that county. Once the marriage license lookup is complete, the courthouse can complete your request for a copy of the certificate. There are various methods you can request a certified copy of marriage certificate records and which methods you can choose from depending on the courthouse. The courthouse will allow you to order a marriage certificate search either online, by mail or in person at a Marriage License Bureau office.
Requesting a marriage certificate online is the most convenient method of obtaining a marriage certificate. If the court allows you to fulfill your marriage certificate copy request using this method, then you will have to supply the full names of both parties named on the record and the date the marriage occurred. If you happen to need a replacement marriage certificate, then you can also request one by mail. First, you should contact the county courthouse where your marriage license was issued and then send a written request to the appropriate address. When you order a marriage certificate by mail or online, it typically takes a couple of weeks to receive your documents. If you need to establish proof of your union when learning how to apply for health care insurance in Pennsylvania or other legal purposes, then you will need to verify the courthouse will send a certified copy of the vital record.
Should you need a duplicate marriage certificate, you may also visit the courthouse in person. However, certain Marriage License Bureau offices operate under special hours or are only available through appointment. Therefore, it is a good idea to call or email the courthouse beforehand and make the proper arrangements. Furthermore, when you order marriage documents in person, you will receive same-day service. You will need to contact the courthouse in advance to figure out what options it offers to order your wedding records though.
Who is eligible to request marriage records in Pennsylvania?
Most counties in Pennsylvania offer a public marriage record search database, which means anyone can search for marriage records on file. After you find marriage records you are looking for, then you can submit a request for a certificate. Although marriage records are public in Pennsylvania, you will need to indicate the full names of both spouses named on the record and your contact information.
Types of Pennsylvania Marriage Records
A marriage license is the first document couples receive for wedding records. It declares the court has approved the marriage and a wedding ceremony may result in a legal union between two people. To obtain a marriage license, both intended partners must visit the Office of the Clerk of Orphan's Court in person to apply. Minors can apply for a marriage license with a parent or legal guardian present, yet the formal age of consent is 18 years of age. Couples applying for a marriage license must present a valid government-issued photo ID, such as a driver's license and a Social Security card or a form of identification that reflects the use of a Social Security Number like a W-2 form. The state will verify that each party is legally single, and their divorce records are up to date if either of the intended spouses was married prior. The marriage license can be officiated in any county throughout the state, but cannot be used for out-of-state marriages. Additionally, although you receive the marriage license upon application, there is a three-day waiting period. This means you must wait at least three days to hold an official ceremony before the license is valid. A marriage license is valid for 60 days after issuance.
Marriage certificates are issued after a wedding ceremony has taken place and the marriage license has been signed by both parties and the marriage officiant. This is the legal declaration of marriage. If you lost marriage certificate records, then you can order a certified or noncertified certificate. A certified copy of marriage certificate records possesses the commonwealth seal and can be used for legal or official purposes. A noncertified marriage certificate does not possess an official seal and is better suited for non-legal purposes such as genealogical records.
To find out more about the type of documentation you need to provide to establish marriage between you and your spouse when applying for health-related government benefits, download our free and comprehensive guide.
Uses for Marriage Certificates in Pennsylvania
Marriage certificates are used for various legal purposes such as during the process of buying a HUD house. Most mortgage lenders ask for a copy of a marriage certificate when drawing up a loan because they need to be able to do a credit check for the couple individually and together. Additionally, insurance companies ask for marriage records when you wish to add a spouse to your benefits plan. It is best to request two copies of your marriage certificate upon submitting the marriage license to the county, so you get them as soon as possible.
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