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How to Find Arizona Marriage Records
In the State of Arizona, marriage records are official documents that certify and prove the validity of marriages that took place in the State. These records are recognized as vital records, and in line with Arizona territorial law of 1864, are kept and issued by authorized public officials in the state.
Are Arizona Marriage Records Public?
No, Arizona Marriage Records are not public records. Only authorized persons or persons with primary interest can have access to the records. These authorized individuals may include immediate family, legal representatives, authorized parties/bodies, or the person-- above 18 years of age--whose name is on the record. The records do not have a time limit which upon expiration allows any member of the public to request copies.
Family Court records can include marriage records and divorce records. These records contain personal information of those involved and their maintenance is critical should anyone involved wish to make changes. Because of this both marriage and divorce records can be considered more difficult to locate and obtain than other public records, and may not be available through government sources or third party public record websites.
What are Arizona Marriage Records?
Marriage records in the State of Arizona are considered closed records that contain detailed information on marriages that were registered and took place in the state. Due to the sensitivity of the information in these records, public access to them is generally restricted except for individuals eligible to access them.
The information contained in Marriage Records include:
- Identifying information of the Groom and Bride such as full names, age, and marital status at the time of marriage
- Names of the parents of the Groom and Bride
- When the wedding ceremony took place
- County and state where the marriage license was issued
- Marriage license number
Common types of marriage records in the State of Arizona include marriage licenses, affidavits, and marriage certificates.
Both government websites and organizations may offer divorce and marriage records. Similarly, third party public record websites can also provide these types of records. But because third party organizations are not operated or sponsored by the government, record availability may vary. Further, marriage and divorce records are considered highly private and are often sealed, meaning availability of these types of records cannot be guaranteed.
What are Arizona Marriage Licenses?
In accordance with the Statutes of Arizona State, two individuals who wish to be wed must obtain a marriage license from any of the 15 counties of the state in advance of the marriage ceremony. This marriage license serves the sole purpose of granting the couples permission from the government to have the wedding ceremony. By their nature, marriage licenses contain more information and details than other types of marriage records.
Marriage licenses in Arizona are valid for 12 months in any county of the state and are only issued by the Clerk of Superior Court to persons who are of the legal age (18 years old and above).
However, Section 25-102 of Arizona Revised Statutes provides exceptions for persons who are under the legal age, but not below the minimum age of 16 years of age, to be issued marriage licenses if, and only if, they meet any of the following requirements:
- Have the consent of at least one parent or legal guardian
- Their spouse-to-be is not more than 3 years older
- If they possess an emancipation order
- If they possess a court order from a Judge of the Superior Court
Persons who fail to meet these requirements are, by law, prohibited from obtaining a marriage license.
What are Arizona Marriage Certificates?
Arizona marriage certificates are documents issued by the State of Arizona to newly-wed couples to show that the marriage is recognized in the eyes of the law. These documents prove that wedded couples are for all intents and purposes legally married.
A marriage certificate is only issued after the ceremony has been performed and the marriage license has been mailed back by the officiant to the Clerk of Superior Court in the county where the license was granted.
The details contained on a Marriage Certificate include:
- Full names of the spouses
- State/county where the marriage was finalized
- Date of marriage
- Names and signatures of witnesses
- Name of officiant of the ceremony
Persons who request copies of marriage certificates usually do so for legal, financial, identification, or genealogy reasons/purposes.
Arizona Covenant Marriage Licenses
Arizona is one of three states in the United States that permit covenant marriages. This type of marriage is not totally different from a conventional marriage. However, it requires different procedures for acquiring a marriage license and it grants couples additional options during divorce and separation proceedings. Parties who wish to obtain a covenant marriage license are required to:
- Attend pre-marital counseling and get a notarized statement or affidavit from the marriage counselor or member of the clergy
- State their intentions when applying for a license by preparing and signing a Declaration of Intent to Enter Into a Covenant Marriage document
- Possess valid government-issued IDs
- Be of the legal age (or between ages 16 to 18 years, with the consent of parent/guardian)
Furthermore, the Clerk of Superior Court must witness the signatures of the two parties.
Arizona Common Law Marriage Licenses
The State of Arizona does not recognize common-law marriage and, therefore, does not issue licenses for this form of marriage. However, if the relationship between the parties involved was recognized in another state Arizona may also recognize the common law union between both parties.
How Do I get a Marriage License in Arizona?
Anyone interested in getting a marriage license in the State of Arizona may do so at the Office of the Clerk of the Superior Court in any of the 15 counties of Arizona. The parties are not required to do a blood test nor have a dissolution of marriage decree. There is also no waiting period required to get the license.
The procedures and requirements of getting a marriage license is the same in all counties of Arizona. The following steps are involved:
- Parties who want to be married in the state must visit the Clerk of the Superior Court together, and sign an affidavit stating their individual names, ages, and residential addresses
- Parties must pay a fee of $83. Fees are payable in cash, money order, personal/cashier checks, and/or debit/credit cards; depending requirements of individual courts
- Both parties must present valid identifications
- Both parties must be of legal age or within the age minimum i.e 16-18 years (Persons who are under the age of 18 years are required to have a parent/guardians consent )
Note: For persons serving in the military, some counties recommend the purchase of an Affidavit of Record of Marriage/Certified Abstract of Marriage when applying for a marriage license for an additional $30 fee. This document can only be obtained at the Clerk of the Superior Court’s office that issued the marriage license
After a marriage license is issued, the officiant is required to return the detachable, lower half of the license in person or by mail within 30 days of the marriage ceremony in order for the marriage to be recorded. However, this timeframe may differ from one county to another.
The returned license must contain:
- The signatures of two witnesses, above the age of 18, present at the ceremony;
- The signatures of the persons about to be wed; and
- The signature of an authorized officiant
Arizona State laws make provisions for couples who cannot get the requested signatures by permitting them to apply to a Superior Court for a duplicate endorsed marriage license.
How Do I Obtain a Copy of My Marriage Record in Arizona?
Marriage records in Arizona are maintained by the Clerks of the Superior Courts in the counties where the marriage licenses were issued. Parties may request access to the Clerk of the Superior Court’s office at the applicable county.
As marriage records in the State are not kept at a central location, the methods for obtaining records may differ. Therefore, requesters have to look up the procedures, payment methods, and application requirements at the relevant county.
The costs for obtaining a copy, however, are uniform across the state. Requesters are required to pay a fee of $30.00 and an additional $7.00 for postage and handling to obtain copies of their marriage records. Common methods of requesting these records include mailing in the relevant application form, visiting the Superior Court County location, and requesting by phone.
Persons making the request must be 18 years of age or older, have a valid government-issued ID card and have their Social Security Number.
The requester must also have certain information about the record such as:
- Name of the groom
- Name of the bride (including former name, if applicable)
- County and state when the parties were wed
- The date, month, and year of the marriage ceremony
- The marriage license number
Individuals who do not have these pieces of information may request a search to locate the marriage record. This attracts an additional fee of $30.