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How to Find North Carolina Marriage Records

Marriage is often seen as a sacred vow two people take to stay with each other for the rest of their lives. On top of this, it is also a legal act that two people must apply for and perform. Being married results in shared benefits between two parties, and is a contract that can have legal ramification or be used for legal action. Marriage records are public records, but the requesting party should always be aware of which kind of marriage record they need to accomplish the task at hand.

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 nature of the information 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 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.

Where to Find Free North Carolina Marriage Records

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 that 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 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 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.

For an uncertified copy one must provide:

  • Name of the two married parties
  • Date that the marriage took place
  • 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


Typically, for a North Carolina Marriage Certificate, the search fee is $24.00. And 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, certified check, business check, or cash.

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 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 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 these licenses online.

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 can be obtained in certified or uncertified form. 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 Obtain a Copy of My Marriage Certificate in North Carolina

As stated above, it is necessary to 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.