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What are the legal requirements for being married?
The legal requirements for a man and a woman to marry vary from state to state. Although there are differences between the requirements in the various states, a marriage between a man and a woman performed in one state must be recognized by every other state under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution.
Some requirements set by state law can include:
(1) a marriage license issued by the county clerk or clerk of the court (along with payment of a fee)
(2) both man and woman are 18 or older, or have the consent of a parent or a judge if younger (discussed below)
(3) proof of immunity or vaccination for certain diseases
(4) proof of the termination of any prior marriages by death, judgment of dissolution (divorce) or annulment.
(5) sufficient mental capacity (often this is determined as the ability to enter into a contract)
(6) the couple are not close blood relatives
(7) blood test for venereal disease
(8) satisfaction of a waiting period from the time the marriage license is issued to the time the marriage ceremony is performed
(9) performance of a marriage ceremony with witnesses and a person recognized by the state to have the authority to perform marriage ceremony (such as a priest, rabbi or a judge)
(10) recording of the marriage license after marriage ceremony is performed
(11) consummation of the marriage by the act of sexual relations (only a few states require this)
A marriage performed in another jurisdiction — even overseas — is usually valid in any state as long as the marriage was legal in the jurisdiction where it occurred. For example, if a couple is married in Canada and then moves to California, California will recognize the validity of the marriage as long as the requirements for a valid marriage in Canada were present at the time the couple entered into the marriage.
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