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North Carolina Marriage Records

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How to Find North Carolina Marriage Records

Marriage is a relationship and legal contract, entered into by two individuals committed to being recognised as a union. Being married results in shared benefits between two parties, and has various legal ramifications. Per state law, North Carolina marriage records are generated and maintained by the state’s vital records office and local custodians. They are categorized as North Carolina public records and interested persons are allowed to view or copy public marriage records, however certified copies are restricted from public disclosure.

When requesting a marriage record, the parties should always be aware of the different kinds of marriage records. They include marriage licenses, marriage certificates, prenuptial agreements, etc. Marriage records, as well as other vital records and vital statistics such as birth and divorce records, are made available to persons who query the North Carolina Vital Records Office or their third-party alternatives.

Are North Carolina Marriage Records Public?

While North Carolina Marriage Records are public, they represent some of the most difficult records to obtain due to the personal records and information contained within. Government organizations often offer marriage verification letters rather than the original marriage records because marriage records must remain intact and unchanged with regard to the people involved in the marriage. If changes need to be made, these records are critical to that procedure.

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 dissolution of marriage 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.

How to Find Out if Someone is Married in North Carolina

Interested members of the public may find out if someone is married in North Carolina by querying the custodians responsible for generating and maintaining marital record information. The state vital records office maintains all North Carolina vital records, including marriage records, and interested persons may request uncertified copies of these records to confirm a person's marital status.

If the person is suspected of having married before 1962, the inquirer can check with the County Register of Deeds to find related information about said marriage. If the records are not found, the individual is likely to not have been married at all.

How to Check Marriage Status Online

To check marriage status online, interested persons may visit the website of the county register of deeds in the judicial district where the marriage likely held. Selected counties maintain online databases with which members of the public may search court record information relating to county-residents. If the county is one of such, the requestor may search court record database for records of the marriage license issued to the individual of interest. They may also search for a possible marriage verification letter, divorce decree or marriage dissolution records as they will provide insight into the marital status of the subject. Where the option to search online dockets is not available, they may be required to query the relevant office in person or via mail.

Alternatively, inquirers can search online for information on social media for information on the individuals marital status. Also, they can search through various third-party sites which offer public record information to requestors for a fee.

What are North Carolina Marriage Records?

A North Carolina marriage record includes both marriage licenses and marriage certificates. It is the most complete record that proves that a marriage has occurred. These documents are not the same, and serve different legal purposes. It makes life easier to know specifically which document a requesting party needs to fulfill their needs before requesting it.

Both government websites and organizations may be used to find marriage records and divorce 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 dissolution of marriage records are considered highly private and are often sealed, meaning availability of these types of records cannot be guaranteed.

How to Find Public Marriage Records for Free

There is no way to obtain completely free marriage records of any kind. Although, copies of marriage records can be accessed with relatively cheap fees through The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Vital Records. The records obtained here are only copies, meaning they are not state-certified and may not be valid under certain circumstances. North Carolina Marriage Licenses, however, must be obtained from the register of deeds office in the requesting parties' local county or county they wish to be married in. Marriage Certificates can also be obtained here.

How to Change Your Name After Marriage in North Carolina

Residents that are newly married may change their name after marriage in North Carolina. While some begin using their new last name immediately, others follow the proper documentation process. The first step in the process of getting a name change after marriage is obtaining a certified copy of the marriage license. Newlyweds must wait at least ten days after their wedding before requesting a certified copy from the county's Register of Deeds office. The register of deeds office typically accepts applications in person, by mail, or online.

Once the person changing their name after marriage gets their marriage certificate, they can apply to the Social Security Administration (SSA) for a new social security card. The person must complete the SS-5 form and include supporting documents like a birth certificate, driver's license, and a certified copy of a marriage certificate. The SSA typically takes two weeks to process the new social security card and does so for free.

According to North Carolina law, newlyweds with new names must apply to obtain a new driver's license from the DMV within sixty days of saying their vows. Interested persons must submit in-person applications to the NCDMV and attach their existing license, a certified copy of their marriage license, social security card, and the processing fee. After obtaining their new license, North Carolina newlyweds may apply to get their international passports updated. They may also contact their financial institutions and utility providers to update their contact details.

What are North Carolina Marriage Certificates?

Marriage certificates in North Carolina can be obtained in certified or uncertified forms. This is a certificate that serves as legal proof of a marriage being performed. The two different forms serve different purposes and requesting parties should figure out what form is necessary for them to fulfill their needs. North Carolina marriage certificates are not to be confused with marriage licenses, which serve as legal permission to get married.

How Do I Get My Marriage Certificate in North Carolina?

The Register of Deeds is one source for obtaining Marriage Certificates in North Carolina. The requirements vary from county to county. Marriage certificates from 1962 to present are also available through NCDHHS Vital Records. This certificate will state that a marriage happened and was completed, the names of the parties, and where the ceremony took place. To apply for a Marriage Certificate in North Carolina, individuals can start by filling out the Vital Records Application for North Carolina Marriage. Processing times for marriage certificates before 1971 may take five weeks, while others may take six to eight weeks. Expedited orders take five to ten business days from when the request was filed, with the additional fee. Some offices, like the walk-in window at the Raleigh office, offer same-day expedited service. This would require the requesting party to come in between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Otherwise, requesting parties must drop off or submit the application with valid ID and required fees, and wait for processing.

One can order online or via phone for marriage certificates and other vital statistics documents like birth, death, and divorce certificates from the state vital records office.

For an uncertified copy of marriage certificate in North Carolina, individuals must provide the following information:

  • Name of the two married parties
  • License issuance and marriage dates
  • Location (county or city) where the license was obtained

For certified copies requesting party must have all information listed above, and also be:

  • One of the spouses, a sibling of a spouse, a direct ancestor or descendent, stepchild or stepparent
  • Someone looking for details about personal property rights
  • An officer or attorney of one of the people listed above

To mail-in these orders, send the completed application, fees, and photocopy of valid ID to one of two addresses. If sending using U.S. Mail, address to:

North Carolina Vital Records
1903 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1900

If sending using UPS or FedEx, address to:

N.C. Vital Records
225 North McDowell Street
Raleigh, N.C. 27603-1382

Fees

Typically, for a North Carolina Marriage Certificate, the search fee is $24.00. An expedited processing fee is $15, and an expedited processing fee and expedited shipping fee together are $35. Any additional copies are $15. These fees can be paid by money order payable to the custodian, certified check, business check, or cash.

How Do I Obtain a Copy of My Marriage Certificate in North Carolina

To obtain a copy a marriage certificate, visit the Register of Deeds in the county where the marriage took place in order to find one’s own North Carolina marriage certificate. The chances are high that the fees and required information will vary depending on the county. Individuals can also order online for a copy of marriage certificate like other state vital records.

What are North Carolina Marriage Licenses?

Couples in North Carolina need to obtain a Marriage License in order for them to wed. Marriage licenses are obtained at the Register of Deeds office and require certain information from both parties in order for the deed to be given. For an application, general information may include the names of the parties who are requesting to marry, the potential date of the upcoming marriage, and a marriage statement. Required documents and information may vary depending on the county. General rules include:

  • Applicants must be 18 years old or older
  • Parties must provide valid government issued identification with picture
  • Parties must have a social legible security card
  • Copy of dissolution of marriage decree or death certificate if married previously
  • County and date of birth
  • State of parents birth

The Register of Deeds grants marriage licenses from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. These licences are valid for 60 days and must be returned to the person who officiated the marriage up to 10 days after the wedding. Not doing so is considered a criminal misdemeanor and could result in a $200 fine. The cost for a marriage licence is $60.00 cash only. Some counties even allow requesting parties to order online for their marriage license.

Are Prenups Public Records in North Carolina?

Prenuptial agreements, also known as prenups, are legal documents prepared by intending couples before their marriage. Under North Carolina's Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (N.C.Gen.Stat. § 52B), property and inheritance rights of the intending couples can be determined, and spousal support rights can be spelled out well ahead of a divorce. The agreement must be in writing and duly signed to be valid by both parties. Most of the time, parties may decide to keep the agreement private.

However, the agreement can be recorded in the county register of deeds. Once the document is recorded with the county clerk, the document becomes a public record and can be accessed by anyone upon request.