Common-law marriage has diverse names, from "marriage in fact", "marriage by repute and habit", "informal…
Where to Apply
How do I get married in Washington State?
To get married in Washington State, you must apply for a marriage license at any county auditor's office.
What are the residency rules?
The state's marriage laws treat residents and nonresidents the same.
Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to marry in Washington?
Non-U.S. citizens may marry in Washington State. The rules are no different.
How much is a marriage license?
A marriage license costs between $33 and $68. It differs by county and is nonrefundable.
How much is a marriage certificate?
Certified marriage certificates costs $3 per copy from the county auditor. State vital records sell them for $20 to $31.50.
Can I buy a license and certificate at the same time?
You may buy a marriage certificate copy in advance when you apply for a license.
Where can I get married?
Your marriage license is valid for use across Washington State, but not outside the state.
Can I marry with an out-of-state marriage license?
You must get married in State of Washington with a Washington State marriage license.
What do I have to fill out?
The gender-neutral marriage license application will ask you to fill out the following under oath:
- Bride, groom, spouse
- Birth name
- If different
- Residential address
- No PO Box
- Prior residential address
- Within the past six months
- State or foreign country
- Marital status
- Single, divorced, widowed
- Social security number
- For child support enforcement
- Must sign a declaration if you have none
- Are you under a guardian's control
- If so, complete affidavit of guardianship
- Father's name
- Father's birthplace
- State or foreign country
- Mother's full maiden name
- Mother's birthplace
- State or foreign country
Is the marriage application universal?
The marriage license application is not the same statewide. One county may not accept another county's form.
How do I get a blank application in advance?
State law requires the county auditor to mail you a blank application if asked.
How long is the application process, in and out?
It takes 30 minutes or fewer to process your application.
What if I can't apply in person?
If one or both of you can't apply in person, get your application notarized. Drop it off or mail it with fees attached.
How old must I be to get married?
Aged 18 and over?
If you're at least 18 years old, you may get married without parental consent.
If you're 17 years old and unemancipated, you may get married with a parent's or legal guardian's written notarized consent.
Aged 16 and under?
If you're 16 years old or younger, you must get approval to marry from a superior court judge.
What are the rules for underage marriage?
Who grants consent?
Either parent may grant consent. The parent does not need custody.
What if I'm emancipated?
If you're 17 years old and emancipated, bring proof to skip the parental consent rule.
How do I get a consent form?
You may pick up a blank parental consent form at your county auditor's office.
Which superior court do I petition?
Petition a superior court in you or your partner's county of residence. Get the court order before you apply.
Do I have to bring my parent when applying?
Have the consent form notarized if your parent or guardian will not attend.
When will I get my marriage license?
Your marriage license will be issued immediately.
How soon can I use my marriage license?
You must wait three days before using your marriage license. For instance, apply on Thursday to marry on Sunday.
Can I get the three-day waiting period waived?
There is no provision in state law to waive the forced three-day waiting period.
How long will my marriage license last?
Your marriage license will expire 60 days after the three-day waiting period.
What if I lose or damage my marriage license?
If your marriage license becomes lost or destroyed, ask the county auditor for a duplicate. There is a small replacement fee.
Do I have to show ID?
You must bring current photo ID, such as a driver's license, passport, military ID card, state-issued ID card, or green card.
Do I have to show my birth certificate?
If you're below the age of 18, bring a certified copy of your birth certificate.
Do I have to show my social security card?
You do not have to show your social security card, but you must supply the number.
Do I have to get a blood test?
You do not have to get a premarital blood test. If you have a contagious STD, your signature affirms your partner is aware.
Do I have to prove that I'm divorced?
You do not have to bring your divorce record.
How soon can I get married after divorce?
You may get married the same day a court decrees your divorce final.
Do I have to prove that I'm widowed?
You do not have to bring your late spouse's death certificate.
How soon can I get married after being widowed?
There is no waiting period between a spouse's death and remarriage.
How do I change my name after marriage?
Use a certified copy of your Washington or out-of-state marriage certificate to change your name after marriage.
Is name change required?
Name change is optional.
Can I change my first name?
You must petition a district court to change your first name.
Can I change my middle name too?
You may not change your middle name due to marriage. You must file a court petition.
What are my last name change options?
You may take your husband's last name or hyphenate surnames.
When can I start the name change paperwork?
You may work on the name change forms online before or after you're married.
Which documents should I update and in what sequence?
First update your social security card. Then the DOL may update your driver's license, car title, and voter record at the same time.
Are witnesses required?
Two witnesses must be present at your marriage ceremony.
Do witnesses have to sign anything?
Both witnesses must sign the "certificate of marriage" section of your marriage license.
Is there a minimum age level for witnesses?
Your witnesses may be of any age. If they can sign their names, they may witness.
Who may conduct my marriage?
A judge, tribal judge, justice, court commissioner, or official of any religious organization may solemnize your marriage.
Do officiants have to live in the state?
Officiants do not need to live in the state nor must they register with the state.
What does "religious organization" refer to?
Religious organization refers to any entity engaged in religious works or study.
Can we conduct our own marriage without an officiant?
You may not self-solemnize your marriage. There must be five participants: the officiant, the couple, and two witnesses.
What goes on the return?
Your officiant must fill out both certificates of marriage attached to the license:
- In county
- Religious or civil
- Date signed
- You, the couple
- Date signed
What happens to the license?
State law allows the officiant to keep the marriage license.
How does my marriage get recorded?
Your officiant must return both certificates of marriage to the county auditor who issued them within 30 days after marriage.
Why are two certificates of marriage returned?
The county auditor forwards one certificate to the state registrar of vital statistics.
How do I get a copy of my marriage certificate?
Buy from a county office?
You may buy a certified copy of your marriage certificate for $3 from the county office that issued you your marriage license.
Buy from the state vital records office?
The Washington State Vital Records Office sells certified birth, death, divorce, and marriage certificates for $20 to $31.50.
Should I buy from the county or from the state?
If you need a copy of your marriage certificate soon after marriage, the county office will have it first.
Can I get married by proxy?
You may not get married by proxy. You must be at your ceremony.
Can I marry a first cousin?
You may not marry your first cousin in Washington State.
Can I marry a family member?
You may not marry your grandparent, parent, child, grandchild, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, or first cousin.
Can I marry a half blood relation?
Washington State law treats whole blood and half blood relations the same.
Can I marry a blood relation out-of-state?
Washington State will not recognize a marriage among kin that violates state law no matter where it takes place.
Can I get married if I have a spouse or partner?
You must be unmarried to get married. You may marry your civil union or domestic partner.
Can I enter into a common-law marriage?
Washington State does not recognize common-law marriage, nor has it ever.