Issued by City / Town Hall
Marriage licenses are issued from any Massachusetts city or town hall. The marriage license will be on file wherever parties choose to file their intentions in the State of Massachusetts. The Town of Middleborough charges a fee of $25 for a marriage license.
The legal age to marry in Massachusetts is 18 (M.G.L. ch. 207, s. 33A). All people who marry in the state must have a marriage license issued in Massachusetts by any city or town clerk (M.G.L. ch. 207, s. 28). Proper identification is necessary. You may be required to show a certified birth certificate.
You do not have to be a resident of Massachusetts.
Both parties must appear in person at the time of applying for marriage intentions.
Resident & Non-Resident
This requirement is applicable to both residents and non-residents of the Commonwealth. According to Massachusetts law, you must jointly file intentions to marry, and you may do so with the city or town clerk in any community in the state. If a person is in the military, intentions may be filed by either party, providing one is a Massachusetts resident. If a person is incarcerated in a county house of correction or a state correctional facility, intentions may be filed by either party.
If divorced, you are not required to present a divorce certificate when filing intentions to marry. However, it is extremely important that an individual who has been divorced be certain that his / her divorce is absolute. If you are uncertain as to the absolute date of your divorce, you should contact the court where the divorce was granted. In Massachusetts, a divorce does not become absolute until 90 days after the divorce has been granted, regardless of the grounds for divorce.
The waiting period is 3 days. Sundays and holidays are included in the three days, but the day the application is made is not. For example, if you apply on Friday, your license will be issued on or after Monday.
Obtaining a Waiver of the Waiting Period: Yes. According to MGL Ch. 207:30, if both parties are residents, or non-residents, or one of each, and they need to dispense with the three days, they may do so by applying to the judge of a probate or district court to have the license issued without delay, after filing intentions with the clerk. Under extraordinary or emergency circumstances, such as if the death of either party is imminent or the female is nearing the end of her pregnancy, an authorized request by a minister or clergy person or an attending physician shall suffice and the clerk can issue the certificate without delay.
Same Sex Marriages
Same Sex Marriages are allowed as of May 17, 2004.
Ordained ministers of the gospel may perform marriages. Before performing marriages, ministers are required to apply for a certificate from the state. For applications visit the Commonwealth of Massachusetts website. You must file a copy of your ordination certificate and a statement from the church saying that you are in good standing. Ministers must keep records of all marriages they perform. Also, ministers must return a certificate of the marriage to the town clerk or registrar who issued the marriage license and to the town clerk of the town where the marriage was performed.
Out of State
If an out-of-state member of the clergy is to perform the marriage, the clergy person must obtain a Certificate of Authorization from the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth prior to the ceremony. This certificate, which is issued by the Public Records Division of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, is to be attached to the original license and returned to the clerk of the city or town where the license was issued. For further information, contact:
Division of Public Records
Secretary of the Commonwealth
One Ashburton Place, Room 1719
Boston, MA 02108
Officiant for a Day / Solemnization Authority
In Massachusetts, a couple may choose to have a family friend or relative perform their wedding ceremony. In order to become a "Solemnizer" for a day, you must fill out an application from the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth. The process takes 4 to 6 weeks to complete. After completing an application, you will receive a letter from the Secretary of Commonwealth granting permission for the person to perform the wedding ceremony. The letter will give you further instructions to complete the process. There is a $25 fee to apply. View the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts website for complete details and an application. Notary Public's cannot perform weddings in Massachusetts.
License & Witness
- The license is valid for 60 days.
- Witnesses are not required.