Obtaining a marriage license in South Carolina is the first step towards being married to your spouse in the eyes of the law. Without a marriage license records, you will not be able to obtain a marriage certificate, which is needed for a variety of legal services. The difference between these marriage documents is important to note when placing application. Knowing how to replace a lost marriage certificate is equally important. Fortunately, there are several methods to do so and you can even get a copy of your marriage record here. To learn more about marriage records, review the sections provided below.
Types of Marriage Documents in South Carolina
As outlined above, getting a marriage license is the first step in having the state legally recognize your union. Perhaps one of most important initial wedding records, a marriage licenses must be obtained prior to a marriage ceremony or wedding.
In order to obtain a marriage license in SC and get married, you must first meet certain eligibility requirements. These marriage requirements include, but are not limited to:
- Age –Both the bride and the groom be at least 18 years of age, except with special circumstances where a judge or parent has given consent. The absolute minimum age is 14 for the bride and 16 for the groom
- Mental Capacity – Both parties must understand what it means to be married and cannot be affected by drugs, alcohol, mental illness or any other issues that might affect judgement at the time of application
- The bride and the groom may not be blood relatives
Additionally, it should be noted that as of 2014, same sex couples are eligible to seek a marriage license in order to pursue a marriage certificate. Marriage registration can be done at your local county clerk office in order to obtain your license. Unlike many other states, a marriage license will not expire in South Carolina, though there is a 24-hour waiting period that must be observed before you can apply for a marriage certificate, so plan ahead. You will need to pay the appropriate fees and provide proof of identification, such as with a valid drivers license, birth certificate or passport.
Approved marriage licenses become a matter of public record, and can be found on a marriage license search by anyone. The information provided on an SC marriage license lookup will not contain sensitive personal information, such as Social Security Numbers. Anyone who wishes to perform a public marriage record search will be expected to pay a nominal fee. A marriage certificate search is also available through public records.
Your marriage ceremony can be a traditional wedding or a civil union, a form of non-religious or ceremonial wedding, performed by a judge. If you are holding a wedding or other religious ceremony, a member of clergy, such as a priest, minister or rabbi, must be present. Typically, the member of clergy or the judge will order a marriage certificate for you, and you can expect to receive it in the post within a few weeks. While you cannot apply for your original marriage certificate online, for your convenience, you can obtain a copy of your marriage record here.
The Uses of Marriage Records in South Carolina
While you will obtain your marriage license in South Carolina first, it is actually your marriage certificate that you will use once you are married for proof of identity or proof of a name change. The most common reasons for use of marriage records involves changing your name with the Social Security Administration and ultimately on your drivers license or state identification card. From there, you will be able to update the name listed on your vehicle’s title and registration.
Additionally, marriage documents are often required for health insurance and life insurance policies, even if the insurance is through an employer. Marriage certificates can also be a crucial part of gaining the right to plan a funeral or collecting inheritance after a passing.
Since marriage records are so crucial, if you are seeking a certified copy of marriage certificate, you can get started on the application process here.
How to Order a Replacement Marriage Certificate in South Carolina
Not to be mistaken with a marriage license replacement, it is a good idea to seek a copy of marriage certificate documents should you ever lose your original. There are a number of ways that you can obtain an SC duplicate marriage certificate, including online, by phone, by mail, in person and you can even get a copy of your marriage record here.
It is important to understand who is eligible to obtain a marriage certificate copy before you apply in order to save yourself a lot of time and hassle. In order to apply for a copy of marriage certificate, you must be one of the following:
- One of the married party (bride or groom) whether present or former spouse
- The married party’s adult child
- The married party’s legal representative
Additionally, duplicate marriage certificates will only be issued if you can provide the following information:
- Full name of the groom
- Full maiden name of the bride
- Full date of the marriage including month, day and year
- County where the marriage license was issued
- Your current mailing address, phone number and signature
- Appropriate marriage certificate copy fees
Furthermore, South Carolina marriage certificate records are only available for marriages that took place after July of 1950. If you are seeking marriage documents prior to that date, you will need to contact the Probate Court that had issued the original license.
Easily the most convenient methods, requesting a replacement marriage certificate online or over the phone will save you from a trip to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) State Vital Records Office in Columbia. Also, ordering online and in person has a short processing time of just five to seven business days.
Should you choose to request a duplicate marriage certificate by mail, the processing time will be extended to two to four weeks, and you will need to include a copy of your valid, government issued photo ID, otherwise your application will be rejected and you will not receive your money back.
Lastly, you can obtain a marriage certificate copy in SC is by visiting the DHEC vital records office in Columbia.