New Jersey Court Records
New Jersey Marriage Records
New Jersey marriage records provide official documentation of marriages that occurred in the state. Such records serve as proof that spouses have been issued a marriage license and are legally married. Some of the information that may be contained in a marriage record includes:
- Names of spouses
- Place and date of marriage
- Names of witnesses
- Full name of parents
- Birth dates for both parties
Marriage records are important for various reasons. Couples often require such records when engaged in transactions that necessitate proof of marriage. For instance, certified copies of a marriage record may be necessary when obtaining a mortgage or applying for spousal benefits for social security or healthcare.
What Types of Marriage Records are available in New Jersey
Government agencies maintain different types of marriage records, the most common of which include marriage certificates and marriage licenses. These records are created or issued for different reasons.
New Jersey marriage certificates serve as official proof of marriage. Such records are maintained by the Bureau of Vital Statistics, which issues certificates containing general abstract information about marriages. Requesters can also obtain more detailed certified copies of a certified marriage record from the state or local registrar. However, only eligible parties can obtain such records. Certified records are only issued to spouses and direct relatives, such as parents, siblings, children, and grandchildren.
Marriage licenses are legal documents that authorize the named parties to enter into a marriage. Applications are filed and issued by the local registrar. To obtain a marriage license, intending spouses must meet the state requirements, namely, both parties must be at least 18 years old and not party to any other marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership recognized by the state. Once approved, marriage licenses remain valid for six months from the date of acceptance. Both parties must marry within this window or reapply.
Are New Jersey Marriage Records Public?
New Jersey marriage records are generally open to the public. Residents can obtain copies of a marriage record by submitting an application to the Office of Vital Statistics & Registry, which maintains records of all marriages from 1918 till the present. The department charges a fixed $25 fee for the first copy and $2 for each additional copy. Older records can be found by searching through the state archives.
To obtain marriage records in New Jersey, you may need to provide a valid government-issued ID. You may also be required to indicate your relationship to the record owners and state the purpose or use of the marriage records if the records were created within the last 50 years.
How to Find Marriage Records in New Jersey
Residents who wish to obtain marriage records can do so with the following general steps.
Step 1. Determine the Type of Record
The first step to finding marriage records in New Jersey is deciding the type of record. If you're trying to obtain records created between 1848 and 1900 or records from 1931 to 1948, you'll need to contact the New Jersey State Archives. On the other hand, if you wish to obtain marriage records for an event that occurred between 1931 and the present, you'll need to submit an application with the New Jersey Vital Statistics and Registry Office.
Step 2. Collect the Information
To process your search, you'll need to provide some details about the marriage event. Some of the information that can assist with finding marriage records in New Jersey include:
- Name of the married parties (as listed on the record)
- Date of the marriage
- City or town where the marriage occured
Step 3. Confirm your Eligibility for the Record.
Although marriage records are generally open to the public, some records are restricted to select parties. For instance, only persons named on the record (or direct relatives, such as the subject's parent, sibling, child, or grandchild) may obtain certified copies of a marriage record that can be used for official purposes. are. Other applicants are issued certificates that cannot be used for legal purposes.
Step 4. Make a Request and Pay the Fee
Record seekers who wish to obtain copies of a New Jersey marriage record must submit a request to the state or local registrar. Making requests usually involves filling out a form with all the related details, such as the couple's name and the marriage date. Marriage records can be ordered by phone or mail.
Note: Applicants can also apply to confirm that no records were found during a search. For such requests, the state will issue documentation stating the fact. A No Record of Marriage statement is sometimes used to establish that the subject is free to marry.
How to Get a Marriage License in New Jersey
Couples who wish to get married can obtain a license in New Jersey by following several quick steps.
Step 1. Meet the Eligibility Criteria
Marriage licenses are only issued to applicants who satisfy the state's eligibility requirements. To become married in New Jersey, you must meet the following:
- Intending spouses must be at least 18 years old
- Intending spouses must not be a party to another marriage, domestic partnership, or civil union recognized in the state.
Step 2. Collect Required Documents
As part of the license application, you'll be required to provide several documents. One of these is proof of residency to show that you reside in the state. You'll also be required to provide a document proving your identity, such as a state I.D., passport, military ID, or driver's license. Finally, you'll be expected to apply with a witness. Witnesses must be at least 18 years old.
Step 3. Complete the Marriage License Application Form
Obtain and complete the application form. Both parties must fill out application forms and provide the following information:
- Full name of both parties
- Current legal address
- Domestic status (single, widowed, divorced, annulled, etc.)
- Number of times every married
- Parent's full name
Step 4. Submit the application and pay the fee
Marriage license applications are processed by the Local Register in the county. While some Local Registers are open to walk-in applications during business hours, others may require appointments. Applicants must also pay the $28 fee. Marriage licenses are generally issued 72 hours after the application is filed and thereafter remain valid for the next six months. If a license expires before the marriage is solemnized, a fresh application with a new fee must be made.
Who can obtain Marriage Records in New Jersey?
Anyone can obtain uncertified informational copies of a marriage record in New Jersey. However, certified copies of a record are only issued to applicants with an established relationship, namely the subject of the record, parents, legal guardians, siblings, children, or partners.
Applicants who wish to obtain certified records must provide documents supporting their relationship (e.g., birth certificate to identify parents). Requesters must also prove their identity by submitting a valid government-issued ID, such as:
- A valid driver's license with a photo
- US or foreign passport
- Federal or state ID
- Bank statement (printed within the last 90 days)
- Utility bill (within the last 90 days)
- Permanent resident card
- Voter registration
Can You Lookup Online Marriage Records For Free in New Jersey
The New Jersey State Archive provides free access to a searchable online database. With it, record seekers can look up complete records of marriages filed with the state from 1848 to 1900. Residents can also make online requests to the New Jersey Office of Vital Statistics and Registry for marriage records. However, this service comes with a fee. Third-party platforms may offer a solution for some records. Such sites allow users to search through a large collection of data aggregated from multiple jurisdictions around the country, including New Jersey. However, the accuracy and volume of information available may vary.
Is New Jersey a Common Law State for Marriage?
New Jersey is not a common-law marriage state, as common-law marriages were eliminated in 1939. As of 2024, couples who meet the general requirements for a common law marriage (such as living together for more than seven years) are still not considered married. To be legally married, couples must meet the state requirements, including obtaining a marriage license and having an officiated ceremony.
Couples who wish to establish some legal rights over an informal union may be able to do so by registering a domestic partnership or entering into a legal cohabitation agreement. New Jersey provides several requirements for registering a domestic partnership, some of which include the following:
- Couples must be same-sex couples or opposite couples
- Couples must share a common residence
Both parties must agree to be jointly responsible for each other’s basic living expenses during the domestic partnership.
Parties who meet all the requirements may obtain an affidavit of domestic partnership form from a local registrar of vital statistics in any municipality in the State of New Jersey.
Note: Cohabitation agreements offer a third alternative to marriage or domestic agreements. Such contracts must ideally be in writing and signed by both parties.