Getting Married In New York: The Basics

Is your big wedding day coming up? Or are you thinking about proposing to that special someone (or hoping that you will get proposed to soon)?

Whatever the case may be, you probably don’t have the legal and bureaucratic details on your mind. Nevertheless, in order for a marriage to be recognized under the law, certain steps have to be taken to secure its legitimacy.

Luckily, the Law Offices of Diron Rutty is here to help make all those legal issues as easy and stress-free as possible. You don’t want to have to focus on New York marriage license laws when you should be writing your vows. For today’s blog, we thought we could get a step ahead and lay out some of the basics of marriage laws in New York. Each state will have its own unique marriage laws (in addition to the federal laws), and it’s important to understand the differences and nuances. You can read more about the tension between state and federal laws in a previous blog.

For now, let’s start taking a look at marriage laws in New York. And, as always, be sure to reach out to the Law Offices of Diron Rutty for all of your legal needs, from real estate to immigration law to family lawyers. We proudly serve the Bronx and the surrounding areas and look forward to hearing from you! In the meantime, let’s take a walk down the aisle together…


Marriage, in short, is a legally-binding contract. That isn’t exactly the most romantic way to think about it, but it’s certainly accurate. And as a contract, it has to meet certain legal requirements in order to be considered legitimate. This probably doesn’t come as too much of a surprise. After all, most of us know that you can’t get married at too young of an age (you must be 18 years of age, and, in New York, you can get married at age 16-17 with parent’s consent). What are some of the other legal restrictions?

  • You must not be married to another living person
  • You must have the mental capacity to enter into a contract
  • You cannot marry a close blood relative

You will, accordingly, need to provide proof of age and have proper identification in order to get married (but more about that soon). There are circumstances where a marriage ceremony may occur while in one of the above situations. In such a case, the marriage is considered legally void. In other words, the state will not recognize the marriage contract.

As long as the basic requirements are met, then you shouldn’t have any trouble getting married. However, there are still documents and steps that will be required in order to get married.


The first to know is that New York requires that you apply for a marriage license in order to get married. The fee for a marriage license in New York City is $35 (or $40 dollars if applying elsewhere in the state). You will need to apply for a marriage license at least 24 hours before the ceremony. New York State requires all individuals who intend to get married to apply for and obtain a marriage license from any city or town clerk’s office. On top of that, you and your spouse will at some point have to show up in person at one of the five borough clerk’s offices.

As mentioned above, you will need to provide proof of age and have valid identification. Historically, many states required a blood test before being able to attain a marriage license. This is not the case in New York (in fact, Montana is the only state that still requires it). You will also want to have settled on what your surname will be! You are not required to change your surname, but know that getting married does not legally change your name. You will have to choose what to change your surname to (if you want to change it at all). After all of that, you will have a marriage license that will remain valid for up to 60 days (or 180 days for active military personnel). This marriage license can only be used in New York State.


So, those are the steps that you’ll need to take in order to get a marriage license in New York State. It’s also helpful to know what information you’ll need in order to accurately fill out the application for a marriage license. According to U.S. Marriage Laws, filling out an application for a marriage license in New York requires:

  • Current address
  • ZIP code and country
  • Country of birth
  • Date of birth
  • Name and country of birth of your parents
  • Social Security number
  • Marital history
  • If you were previously married, the date of your divorce or the date of your spouse’s death must be provided. Bring a certified copy of the divorce decree or death certificate.

New York accepts 8 forms of identification, including driver’s license, active military ID, and passport. You won’t have to worry about meeting any residential requirements since New York will issue a marriage license regardless if you’re a resident of New York.


These are some of the basics for obtaining a marriage license in New York State. Nevertheless, there are many things to consider before getting married. Talking with a family lawyer can help ensure that you’re taking all the appropriate steps. You don’t want to run into an unexpected situation that throws a wrench in your celebration time. Marriage should be a happy time, not a time for stress and worry.

As your trusted family lawyer in the Bronx, the Law Offices of Diron Rutty can help make start your marriage off right. Whether you’re planning on having a bigging wedding celebration or you’re just looking to get married in the courts, you will still have to have the appropriate paperwork. Don’t get caught off guard. Schedule a consultation with the Law Offices of Diron Rutty in the Bronx today!

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