What are the Waiting Period, Expiration, and Return?
In order to understand the rules of when to complete and return a marriage license, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the three laws that determine when you are allowed to complete and marriage license, and when it must be returned. The three laws that govern this are the Waiting Period, Expiration, and Return. These laws vary from state to state. Below we further explain what these laws mean followed by a table that lists out all the relevant information by state.
Marriage License Waiting Period
The marriage license waiting period refers to laws that mandate the couple wait for a period of time between when they file for the marriage license and when they are able to complete and return it.
Some states, like California, have no waiting period, meaning the couple can get married on the same day that they file for the marriage license. In other states, like Wisconsin, the couple is required to wait six days to get married from the time they apply for their marriage license until the ceremony and signing of the document.
Marriage License Expiration
The marriage license expiration refers to laws that invalidate the marriage license if it has not been completed and returned within a set amount of time from when it was issued.
In Ohio the marriage license is valid for 60 days, meaning the couple should wait to file for the marriage license at least 60 days before the scheduled wedding date. In Nevada, on the other hand, the marriage license is valid for an entire year.
Marriage License Return
The marriage license return refers to laws requiring that the marriage license be completed and returned before its expiration date or before a certain number of days have passed since the wedding ceremony.
Couples getting married in Hawaii must return the marriage license before it expires within its 30 day window, while marriage licenses in Texas must be returned within 10 days following the wedding.
Waiting Period, Expiration, and Return by State