Who May MarRy?
Age requirements and consent. The minimum age for marriage in the Commonwealth of Virginia is 18 years old. Previously, minors could marry with parental consent, but this law has recently changed. Special provisions are made in Virginia law to allow marriage for underage parties when a female is pregnant and for situations in which underage applicants have no parent or legal guardian. Please contact the clerk’s office for more information regarding other requirements for all underage marriages.
Prohibited marriages include:
- A marriage entered into prior to the dissolution of an earlier marriage of one of the parties.
- A marriage between an ancestor and descendant; or between a brother and a sister; or between an uncle and a niece; or between an aunt and a nephew; whether the relationship is by the half or the whole blood or by adoption.
- When either of the parties lacks capacity to consent to the marriage because of mental incapacity or infirmity.
- “Common law” marriages are not valid if entered into in Virginia or any other jurisdiction which does not permit them for its residents.
Blood Test Not Needed. There is no blood test requirement for marriage in Virginia.
Where to obtain. The clerk, or his deputy, of the circuit court in any county or city, issues a license for marriage in Virginia. The ceremony may be performed anywhere in Virginia by anyone authorized by the Court to celebrate the marriage rite in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Applicants must, under oath, furnish information required to complete the marriage record, including valid photo identification. These items are material matters, and the applicant may be subject to prosecution for perjury for violation of the portion of the statues, which requires this information. For divorced persons, there is no statutory waiting period before remarriage after the divorce is granted, unless a court specifically prohibits remarriage. In some cases, clerks may require documentary proof of age or termination of a previous marriage. Most of the offices of the clerks of court are closed on Saturdays.
Time limitations. The marriage must be performed within sixty days after the license is issued. There is no waiting period required between application and issuance of license, and a couple may be married immediately after the issuance of a license.
Fees. A fee of $30 is charged by the clerk of the court for issuing a marriage license.
Who may perform. A minister of any religious denomination may be authorized by the circuit court to celebrate the rites of matrimony. In order to obtain such authorization, the minister must produce proof of his ordination and regular communion with the religious society of which he is a reputed member. Marriages between persons belonging to any religious society which has no ordained minister may be solemnized by the persons and in the manner prescribed by and practiced in the society.
Witness. There is no statutory requirement that witnesses be present at the marriage ceremony.
Minister record. The minister or other person officiating at the marriage must complete and sign the Marriage Register and the Marriage Return and forward both forms to the clerk of the court who issued the license within five days after the ceremony is performed. The Marriage Return is forwarded by the clerk to the State Division of Vital Records. In addition to the forms to be returned to the clerk, the officiant may also prepare a certificate to be given to the newly married couple.
Social Security Administration. Your social security card will need to reflect your new name upon marriage. Complete Social Security Administration Form SS-5 (this link requires the free Adobe Acrobat Reader) and either mail it or take it to your nearest Social Security Office. Include a certified copy of your marriage record (see certified copy information below). There is no fee for filing Form SS-5. You should receive your new social security card within four weeks and your social security number will not change. For more information about changing your social security records, contact the Social Security Administration Website.
Driver’s License. Bring your newly issued driver’s license, social security card and a certified copy of your marriage record (see certified copy information below) to the Department of Motor Vehicles office at the Norton Office of DMV. As of this date, there is a $5 fee for a new driver’s license card. For more information about correcting your DMV records, contact the Division of Motor Vehicles.
Need certified copies?
If a certified copy of a marriage record is required, it may be obtained from the Clerk of Court office that issued the license. The cost is $3.00 per copy. Requests can be made in person or by mail. If requesting a certified copy of a marriage license by mail, please send a request that includes the full name of groom, full name of bride, date of marriage and place of marriage to the Wise County Circuit Court clerk’s office with a self-addressed stamped envelope to P.O. Box 1248, Wise, VA 24293
If the marriage occurred in the Commonwealth of Virginia, but you are unsure what Circuit Court issued the marriage license, you can contact the Division of Vital Records in Richmond. Their address is Division of Vital Records, P.O. Box 1000, Richmond, VA 23219-1000. The Virginia statues require a fee payable to the State Health Department. The telephone number is 804-662-6200 and their web address is https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/