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The Judicial Center
5 North Kent Street
Winchester, Virginia 22601

E-Mail: Winchester Circuit Court
E-Mail: Frederick Co Circuit Court
(540) 667-5770
City Fax: (540) 667-6638
County Fax: (540) 545-8711
Marriage Info: (540) 667-8623
Mon - Fri   9:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.

Marriage License Information

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Questions & Answers


Every marriage in Virginia must be licensed and solemnized according to state law. The following information is intended to summarize these laws, but should not be construed as legal advice.


  1. Who may marry in Virginia?
    Age Requirements
    Prohibited Marriages

  2. How do I Obtain a Marriage License?
    Blood Test
    Where to Obtain License
    Time Limitations
    Fees

  3. How is the Marriage Ceremony Performed?
    Who May Perform the Ceremony
    Structure of the Ceremony
    Witnesses
    Marriage Record

  4. How Do I Change My Name When I Get Married?
    Social Security
    Driver's License
    Other

  5. How Do I Obtain a Certified Copy of My Marriage License
    Request Form for Certified Copy of Marriage License

  6. List of Individuals Authorized to Perform Marriage Ceremonies


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WHO MAY MARRY IN VIRGINIA?
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  1. Age Requirements and Consent

    The minimum age for marriage in the Commonwealth of Virginia is 16 years for both bride and groom. If either party is under 18 years old, consent to the marriage must be given in person by the father, mother or legal guardian of the minor. The law permits marriage for a Virginia resident under the age of sixteen if the bride is pregnant when seeking a marriage license or has been pregnant within the nine months preceeding examination by a physician, and the parent or guardian of the underage party gives consent.

  2. Prohibited Marriages

    The following categories of marriages are illegal in Virginia:

    • A marriage entered into prior to the dissolution of an earlier marriage of one of the parties
    • A marriage between an ancestor and descendant; or between a brother and a sister; or between an uncle and a neice; or between an aunt and a nephew; whether the relationship is by the half or whole blood or by adoption
    • When either party lacks the mental or physical capacity to consent to the marriage
    • A marriage between persons of the same sex
    • "Common law" marriages are not valid if entered into in Virginia or any other jurisdiction which does not permit them for its residents


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HOW DO I OBTAIN A MARRIAGE LICENSE?

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  1. Blood Test

    There is no blood test requirement for marriages in Virginia.

  2. Where to Obtain License

    A marriage license may be obtained from the Office of the Clerk of Circuit Court in any city or county in Virginia. Once issued, a marriage license permits a marriage ceremony anywhere in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

    Both parties must appear in person to receive the license. The Offices of the Clerk of Circuit Court in the City of Winchester and County of Frederick are open from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., Monday through Friday except for holidays. Each party must furnish the required information under oath or affirmation, and falsifying any information on a marriage license could subject the parties to prosecution for perjury. You may be asked to furnish documentary proof of your age.

  3. Time Limitations

    There is no waiting period in Virginia between being granted a divorce and remarrying or between applying for and being issued a marriage license. Once a marriage license has been issued, however, the marriage ceremony must be performed within 60 days or the license becomes void. After the marriage ceremony is performed, the officiant (person authorized to celebrate the rites of marriage) must return the Marriage Record and the Marriage Return to the clerk of circuit court's office within five days.

  4. Fees

    The Clerk of Circuit Court will charge a fee of $30 for issuing a marriage license. The $30 fee must be paid in cash. The officiant may charge up to $50 for each ceremony, plus standard mileage reimbursement.


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HOW IS THE MARRIAGE CEREMONY PERFORMED?

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  1. Who May Perform

    No person may celebrate the rites of marriage in Virginia who is not authorized to do so by a circuit court. The following categorizes of officiants may be authorized in the following manner:

    • A minister of any religious denomination must produce proof of his or her ordination and regular communion with the religious society of which he or she is a reputed member.
    • Marriages between persons belonging to any religious society which has no ordained minister may be solemnized by the persons and in the manner prescribed and practiced in the society.
    • Each circuit court appoints persons who are eligible to perform civil marriage ceremonies.

  2. Structure of Ceremony

    There is no statutorily prescribed structure or wording that must be used during a marriage ceremony. Couples are free to write their own vows and plan their own ceremonies in accordance with their own beliefs and customs. The marriage is solemnized when the rites of marriage have been celebrated and the officiant completes the Marriage Record and the Marriage Return.

  3. Witnesses

    There is no statutory requirement that witnesses be present at the marriage ceremony.

  4. Marriage Record

    Within five days after the marriage ceremony, the officiant must complete and sign the Marriage Register and the Marriage Return and forward both forms to the circuit court clerk's office that issued the license. The Marriage Return is then sent to the Virginia Division of Vital Records. In addition to these two forms, the officiant is welcome to prepare any other type of certificate to be given to the newly married couple.


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HOW DO I CHANGE MY NAME WHEN I GET MARRIED?
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If you wish to change your last name upon marriage (whether you are the bride or groom), begin using the new name immediately after the marriage ceremony.

  • Social Security - Complete Social Security Administration Form SS-5 and either mail it or take it to your nearest Social Security office. Include a certifed copy of your marriage record (see below). There is no fee for filing Form SS-5. You should receive your new social security card within four weeks, and your social security number will not change. (For more information about changing your social security records, click here.)

  • Driver's License - Bring your driver's license, social security card and a certified copy of your marriage record the Department of Motor Vehicles office nearest you. If you are a Virginia resident, you can click here for more information about correcting your DMV records.

  • Voter Registration - Notify your local Registrar's Office of your name change.

  • Personal Property - Notify your local Commissioner of the Revenue's Office of your name change within 30 days.

  • Address Changes - If you will also be changing your address, don't forget to notify the Registrar's Office, Commissioner of the Revenue's Office, the U. S. Postal Service with the USPS Change of Address Form and the Internal Revenue Service with IRS Form 8822.

  • Other - Don't forget to notify other agencies, businesses and associates that your name has changed.


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HOW DO I OBTAIN INFORMATION ABOUT OR A CERTIFIED COPY OF A MARRIAGE RECORD?
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Certified copies of marriage records may be obtained in person or by mail from the circuit court clerk's office that issued the marriage license or from the Virginia Division of Vital Records in Richmond. The full names of the bride and groom and the date and place of marriage must be provided.

You may use the form provided to request certified copies of a marriage license that was issued by the Winchester Circuit Court or Frederick County Circuit Court Clerk's office. Additionally, please send $3.00 cash or money order for each certified copy requested to either Circuit Court Clerk's Office at the following address:

Winchester Circuit Court   or   Frederick County Circuit Court
5 North Kent Street
Winchester, Virginia 22601

Please send Self Addressed Stamped Envelop, Thanks


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This site developed and maintained by:
Debby Payne, Webmaster
Any comments?
dlpayne@courts.state.va.us