What is Required to Get Married in Virginia
Couples planning to get married have a lot to think about when it comes to legal topics. Do you need a prenuptial agreement? Will you buy a new home? What about a joint bank account, name changes, custody and visitation of children from a prior marriage, etc. With a variety of complex legal issues at hand, don’t overlook the basic legal requirements when it comes to the marriage itself. Otherwise, you might find out your marriage is not valid. If you’re facing a situation involving a possible voidable marriage or seeking an annulment, it’s in your best legal interest to retain a qualified Virginia family law attorney.
Here’s a look at the requirements for people intending to get married in the state of Virginia.
Valid Marriage License
While this seems like a simple task, some people overlook the most basic of requirements while wrapped up in the planning details. To obtain a marriage license in the state, both you and your fiancé must visit the Clerk of the Circuit Court of the county or city in which one of you lives, and pay the applicable license fee.
Once you have obtained a valid license, the ceremony must be performed within 60 days from when the license was issued. A qualified person must perform the ceremony, or it won’t be valid.
Important Information on Potentially Void Marriages
Some important things to keep in mind about the marriage itself include the nature of your relationship to the person you plan to wed. Those related by blood or marriage cannot marry if they are closer than cousins. That means you can’t marry your step or adopted brother, sister, etc., even if the relationship is from a previous marriage. If one party has been married before, there must be a valid divorce decree on file prior to the new marriage taking place.
Both parties should discuss all topics that could lead to the marriage being voidable. This includes topics like impotency, religious preferences, felony convictions, prior children, or other relevant information deemed important under Virginia law.
Parties Must be of Legal Age
If you’re under 18, the consent of your parent or guardian is needed, unless you’ve been married previously. The minimum age to marry in Virginia – even with parental consent – is 16. There may be an exception in the case of pregnancy which is verified by a doctor’s certificate. Minors who have been legally emancipated do not need parent or guardian consent to marry. If you lie and misrepresent your age in order to marry without parental consent, your parent could ask the court to have the marriage annulled. The judge will then decide what is in your best interest.
Common Law Marriage
Some states still have common law provisions, which mean it is a marriage where parties consider themselves married without any formal ceremony or license involved. Virginia will recognize these in some instances if the common law marriage was valid in the state where it took place and both parties would be eligible to be married in Virginia.
Retaining a Family Law Attorney
The Leesburg team of family law attorneys at Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC are skilled in all areas of family law and estate planning, including prenuptial agreements, annulments, divorce, and preparation of wills and living trusts. Contact our office today for a consultation.