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Frequently Asked Questions: Marriage in Florida

Family law is not limited to divorce cases; skilled family law attorneys can assist with issues of marriage and cohabitation as well.  Until it becomes time to consider marriage, most people do not give much thought to the minutia of marriage requirements.  What is a marriage license, where can you get one, and what are the requirements for a marriage ceremony?  Take a look at these frequently asked questions regarding marriage in Florida, as well as their answers.

Can Anyone Get Married to Anyone?

No, there are legal requirements to be married.  Aside from the obvious age of consent limitations (in Florida, you can get married only after turning eighteen, or with parental permission at an age over sixteen), there are other requirements as well.  You must also fit requirements for mental capacity, not be married to anyone else simultaneously, and comply with state law prohibiting marriage between close relatives.

Marriage License?  Marriage Certificate?

The marriage license is a document that permits you to get married, obtained before the marriage.  The marriage certificate proves you are married after marriage.  They are two different documents obtained at two different times in the process.  Married couples will need both.

What Must Be in a Marriage Ceremony?

Perhaps surprisingly, almost nothing must be present in a marriage ceremony.  There are no required or special words required.  Generally, witnesses must be present, but other than witnesses, a couple engaged to be married can feel free to design and organize essentially whatever type of ceremony or wedding they desire.

Can my Friend Marry Us?

Non-religious ceremonies must be performed by someone with legal authority to perform marriages.  Religious ceremonies generally require marriage by a member of the clergy, in accordance with the requirements of the religious faith.  Within a Native American tribe, marriages may be performed by the tribal chief or another tribal member designated to perform marriages.  Essentially, anyone with legal authority to perform marriages may do so, and some faiths or organizations do provide individuals with legal authority to perform marriages.

What Do I Have to Do before I Get Married?

The first step, legally, is to receive a marriage license.  To do this in Florida, you will need to apply and receive a license from a court or the clerk’s office, depending on your location.  The marriage license will permit you to be married in recognition of your fitting the legal requirements of marriage.  In Florida, you must marry within sixty days of receiving a marriage license, or else the license will expire.

Are There Still Blood Tests Required?

While you may be aware that blood tests were once a required precursor to marriage in many places (for venereal diseases and for highly infectious or transmittable diseases), the requirement is quickly disappearing throughout the states.  There is no blood test requirement in Florida currently.

Should I Get a Pre-Nup?

The decision to sign a prenuptial agreement is based on individualized circumstances.  A qualified family law attorney can help you with deciding whether a prenuptial agreement may be wise for your specific case and if so, what should be contained within it.

Are you getting ready for marriage?  If you are, a consultation with a family lawyer may help clarify your legal obligations and smooth out the marriage process.  At Schwartz | White, our experienced Boca Raton divorce and family law attorneys are ready to assist you. Call 561-391-9943 for a consultation today.

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