Marriage Certificate

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People often confuse the terms “marriage license” and “marriage certificate.” However, these are two different documents. A marriage certificate is an official document issued to a couple after they are legally wed, and their marriage has been filed with the state or county. It simply states that the wedding took place and that the two individuals are legally married to one another.

A marriage license, in contrast, is an official document obtained before the wedding, usually from the county clerk. It declares that the individuals are legally allowed to marry each other. Both individuals, as well as the officiant, must sign the marriage license after the wedding ceremony. The license must then be submitted to the state or county agency responsible for marriage records. They will record the marriage and issue a marriage certificate.

You can get a certified copy of your marriage certificate from the Vital Records Office in the state where it was filed. You may need a copy to use as proof of your name change or serve as evidence during court proceedings concerning divorce, custody, or paternity.

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