FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Where should you apply for a marriage or civil union license?
If the bride is a resident of New Jersey, the marriage license must be obtained from the Registrar of Vital Statistics in the municipality where she lives.
If she is a non-resident of New Jersey and the groom is a resident of New Jersey, the license must be obtained from the Registrar in the municipality in which the groom resides. (For marriage license purposes, soldiers are residents of the posts at which they are stationed.) A license issued under either of the preceding circumstances is good for use anywhere in New Jersey.
If both bride and groom are nonresidents of New Jersey, the license must be obtained from the Registrar of the municipality where the marriage is to be be performed and is only good for use in that municipality.
A license may never be used outside of New Jersey and a license issued in another state may never be used in New Jersey.
Be sure to contact the Registrar well in advance of the wedding to find out on what days and during what hours the Registrar will be in the office. The license fee is $28.00.
According to state law, judges of a Federal District Court, United States magistrates, judges of a Municipal Court, judges of the Superior Court, judges of a Tax Court, retired judges of the Superior Court or Tax Court, or judge of the Superior Court or Tax Court who has resigned in good standing, and any mayor/deputy mayor or chairman of any township committee, village president of New Jersey, County Clerks, and every minister of every religion may solemnize a marriage.
If the marriage is scheduled for a Saturday or Sunday, the application should be made no later than the preceding Tuesday. If the application is made on a Wednesday or Thursday, the 72 hours will end on Saturday or Sunday, but the Registrar will probably not be available on those days or any public holiday.
If both the bride and groom are unavailable to complete the application at the same time, either applicant may complete his/her part of the application and start the waiting period. The other applicant must return with the same witness (who must be at least 18 years old) to complete his/her part of the application. The application must be completed by both parties before the license will be issued. Once the marriage license is issued, it is good for 30 days from the date of issuance.
A couple wishing to have both religious and civil ceremonies may be issued a license for both ceremonies on the basis of a single application. However, a couple wishing to have two religious ceremonies, and wanting to have a public record of each, may not have two licenses issued at the same time. They must apply for and use the first license. They must then return to the Registrar with signed original certificate of the marriage and a witness to apply for a remarriage license.
If one or both of the applicants are divorced, you should bring a copy of the final decree or decrees for examination by the Registrar or a statement by the judge as to when the final decree was signed (not the date of the final hearing). Both the bride and groom will provide their Social Security numbers (Married Persons Title 37:117).
Consent of both parents is necessary if an applicant is under 18 years of age. Both parental consents and judicial approval of such consents are necessary if the applicant is younger than 16. These consents should be on forms supplied by the Registrar.
Certified copies of the marriage event may be obtained from the local Registrar in the municipality where the ceremony occurred or from the Office of the State Registrar of Vital Statistics.
Changing your surname after marriage
Tradition dictates that a woman should take her husbands surname upon marriage but this is not a legal requirement and many people now decide to take another route.
Leave your names exactly as they are
There is no legal requirement for either person to change their name after marriage and some couples decide to just keep using their current names. If you opt for this choice, you do not need to follow any procedure because your legal name is not changing. However, the woman may still wish to change her title to Mrs even though your surnames are staying separate.
Changing your last name after you get married is an old tradition that has been around for a long time. Whether the wife takes the husband's name as tradition dictates, he takes hers, or both make the decision to hyphenate, follow the necessary steps to make it official.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Order extra certified copies of your marriage certificate for agencies that require originals before allowing you to change your name on documents, such as the department of motor vehicles.
If you're a man changing your name at marriage, check your marriage certificate to see if there is a space to indicate a name change. If not, you will need court papers to legally change your name. Contact a local attorney to find out the procedure for name changing in your state. (This is not necessary for women.)
Request a new Social Security card or cards reflecting the name change. Call the Social Security Administration at (800) 772-1213 to obtain forms and instructions.
Make an appointment to visit the department of motor vehicles for a new driver's license. Ask in advance which documents you'll need to bring in order to certify the validity of your name change.
Obtain and complete a Passport Amendment/Validation Application. Send this along with appropriate fees, your current passport(s), and a certified documentation of your name change (such as a certified copy of a marriage certificate or court papers) to the nearest passport agency.
Order replacements for checks, business cards, credit cards and other documents that contain your old name.
Call employers and schools (if you are a student) to let them know your new name, and ask them to change it in their records.
Change your name on your car registration, with your insurance and mortgage companies, and with your frequent-flier program.
Contact the post office, utility companies and registrar of voters.
Make the announcement to friends and family (ideally to your in-laws first), using stationery or thank-you cards with your new name printed on them, or order name-change cards designed for such an occasion.
Tips & Warnings