In order to get married in Connecticut, you must apply for and be issued a marriage license by a city or town clerk from the city or town where your marriage ceremony will take place. Authorized deputies and assistants to the clerk can also issue licenses.
Arrive at least 30 minutes before the clerk's office closes so that there's sufficient time to process your application and issue your license.
Together or separate
You can apply for a marriage license together or separately. If applying separately, the license will be issued to whoever comes in last and the expiration period will count down from that date of issuance.
There are no residency requirements. You can apply for a marriage license in any city or town throughout Connecticut, but your marriage ceremony must take place in that city or town. This requirement, which has been in place since October 1, 2009, does not apply to the state's federally recognized tribes.
The cost to obtain a marriage license is $30. The cost to obtain a certified copy of your marriage license/certificate is $20. These fees are the same in every city and town throughout Connecticut.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) designs the gender-neutral marriage license application that all cities and towns replicate. Save for a few cosmetic differences, the contents and physical structure of the application is the same statewide.
The application is a collection of identity, vital statistic, marital history, and officiator questions. You'll be asked to document and swear to the accuracy of the following:
- Date of birth
- Current residence, including county
- Are you under the supervision or control of a conservator or guardian
- Social security number
- Phone number
- Signature (attests to the accuracy of your submission)
- Highest education levels completed (secondary education, primary education, college)
- Father's name
- Father's birthplace
- Mother's name, including maiden
- Mother's birthplace
- Which marriage this represents (e.g., first, second, third, etc)
- Total number of civil unions you've been in
- Whether your last relationship was a marriage or civil union
- How your last relationship ended (e.g., death, annulment, dissolution)
- Are you marrying your civil union partner
- Officiator's name
- Officiator's title
- Officiator's phone number
- Officiator's address
- City or town where marriage ceremony will be held
- Date of ceremony
Regardless of your age, if you're under the supervision or control of a conservator, you cannot marry without their written consent. Written consent must be acknowledged before someone authorized to take such acknowledgements, such as a city or town clerk of this state or notary public of any state.
Connecticut current has no minimum age to marry, which may soon change.
18 years old or above
If you're 18 years old or older, and not under the control of a conservator, you are free to marry without obtaining the consent of a parent or guardian.
Below 18 years old
If you're below the age of 18, you must acquire written consent to marry from at least one parent or guardian.
Below 16 years old
Consent to marry
Parent or guardian
Consent to marry from your parent or guardian must be put in writing and acknowledged before someone who's authorized to take such acknowledgements. Such authorized persons include, but are not limited to, a city or town clerk of this state, including their deputies and assistants; notary public; justice of the peace; Superior Court clerk; or judge of a court of record.
When granting consent, your parent or guardian will typically accompany you to the making of the application in order to express their approval in the presence of the city or town clerk.
If you have no parent or guardian residing in the United States, consent to marry from a probate court judge would be sufficient.
Probate court judge
If you need permission to marry from a probate court judge, make sure you've gotten the parent/guardian consent requirement resolved first—assuming it applies to you.
The judge must be from the same district in which you live. Their consent will be put in writing, which you must present to the city or town clerk.
Upcoming age restriction?
On May 9, 2017, the state House of Representatives unanimously passed Bill 5442, which would prevent anyone below the age of 16 from marrying under any circumstance.
The bill, which is meant to prevent forced or coerced marriages of minors, would mandate a probate court judge assent to the marriage for sixteen or seventeen year olds, along with the parent's or guardian's consent. The bill has moved to the Senate for consideration.
Opposition from advocates
Fraidy Reiss, the founder and director of Unchained at Last, a New Jersey non-profit that advocates against arranged/forced marriage, has called for the bill to be rejected and reconsidered next year, as she asserts most children are forced into marriage by their parents.
You must bring your social security card and one form of government-issued photo identification, such as a driver's license, state-issued ID, military ID, or passport.
A parent or guardian who's coming in office to grant consent to marry must also present ID. Underage applicants must bring an original or certified copy of their birth certificate.
Although most city and town clerk offices will issue you a marriage license the same day you apply, a small percentage will force you to wait one business day before issuance. This discrepancy is due to state law not specifying a waiting period, thereby allowing clerks to decide this unilaterally.
This wait is typically established in very busy or short-staffed offices. On the plus side, you can get married immediately after receiving your license.
Your marriage license will expire 65 days after it's been issued. A marriage conducted with an expired license will be void.
Effective October 1, 2003, blood tests for venereal diseases and rubella are no longer required as a condition for being issued a marriage license.
Although you must document your marital history on the application, you are not required to show proof by way of a divorce decree, death certificate, or obituary clipping.
Connecticut outlaws marriage between certain family members of any degree, whether related by blood or adoption. You are forbidden from marrying your grandparent, parent, child, grandchild, sibling (whether half or whole blood), aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, stepparent, or stepchild. However, you can marry your first cousin, as state law does not expressly prohibit it.
Living spouse, or equivalent
If you having a living husband or wife, you cannot remarry until you're divorced. If you're in a relationship that's nearly equivalent to marriage, in terms of benefits, rights, and responsibilities, you cannot marry until that relationship has been dissolved.
Exceptions to the living spouse rule
If you're in a relationship that has legal similarities to marriage, such as a domestic partnership or civil union, you are allowed to marry your partner in that relationship. You are also permitted to marry your deceased spouse's brother or sister.
Who may solemnize
The person who solemnizes, or performs, your marriage is referred to as the solemnizing official, officiant, or officiator. If your marriage is not solemnized by any of the following figures, it will be void.
Judges, referees, and similar
You can be married by an elected or appointed judge of Connecticut, another state, or the federal bench, whether active or retired; justices of the peace; or a family support magistrate, family support referee, or state referee.
Justices of the peace are appointed positions. Family support magistrates, who are appointed by the governor for three-year terms, aren't technically judges but perform some judicial functions, such as hearing cases related to paternity and child and spousal support.
Family support referees and state referees are superior court judges who've reached the age of 70, which is the mandatory retirement age of superior court judges in Connecticut.
You can be married by any licensed or ordained member of the clergy, of any religious organization, whether they practice in Connecticut or another state.
Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís
A Bahá'í marriage ceremony conducted and witnessed by an established Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís is considered valid. Although the minimum age to enter a Bahá'í marriage is 15, it does not supersede the state's age restriction statutes.
The act of presiding over your marriage is referred to as solemnization. The state specifies who is authorized to solemnize marriages.
Right of refusal
Religious officials and organizations that are authorized to perform marriages can legally refuse to participate in any marriage celebration if it violates their sincerely held religious beliefs. Participation includes providing goods, services, or facilities.
Witnesses are not required to be present during your marriage ceremony.
Certifying the license
Once your marriage ceremony is over, your officiant must "certify" the "marriage certificate" portion of your marriage license by writing in (with black ink) his or her name, title, and address; you and your spouse's names; and the place and date where the ceremony was performed.
Returning the license
Your "certified" marriage license must be returned to the city/town clerk office that issued it no later than the end of the first week of the following month so that it may be recorded by the clerk.
Failure to return the license
If your officiant fails to return your certified license, either you or your spouse can file a return by submitting an affidavit detailing the date and place the marriage took place. Following your return, your officiant will be reprimanded with a failure to return fine of $10.
Once your certified license is returned to the city or town clerk that issued your license, it will be recorded and indexed, and a copy will be dispatched to the state's vital records office.
After your certified license has been returned and recorded, certified copies of your marriage certificate can be ordered from the city or town clerk registrar. Although the state is forwarded a copy, it would be faster for you to acquire copies from the city or town, as the state's processing time is six to eight weeks.
The "certified copy of your marriage certificate" is sometimes referred to as a "certified copy of your marriage license" or "certified copy of your marriage record." They're interchangeable phrases that represent the same document.
Name change after marriage
Certified copies of your marriage certificate is necessary if you intend to change your name after marriage. This document serves as prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein, and is accepted by the Social Security Administration, DMV, passport office, and any civil or criminal court.
Connecticut does not recognize common-law marriages established in this or any other state.
If either you or your spouse is a citizen of Connecticut who married lawfully in a foreign country, your marriage would be considered valid in this state as long as you could have legally contracted the marriage here, you were married by a licensed or ordained clergyperson, and a United States ambassador or consular officer—within their jurisdiction—was in attendance.
Other state, territory, or jurisdiction
If you established a marriage, or relationship that's similar to marriage in terms of benefits, rights, and responsibilities, in another state, territory, or jurisdiction, it would be recognized in Connecticut as long as it doesn't go against of this state's marriage statutes or prohibitions. "Jurisdiction" includes this state's two federally recognized tribes.
Federally recognized tribes
The requirement that you obtain a marriage license from the city or town the marriage will occurs does not apply to the Mashantucket Pequot reservation or the Mohegan reservation. Both are federally recognized Indian tribes established exclusively in Connecticut.
Tribal marriage license
Any marriage that took place prior to May 27, 2016 by way of a tribal marriage license at either the Mashantucket Pequot reservation or Mohegan reservation are recognized as legitimate as long as the marriage conforms with the laws of the tribe and doesn't violate this state's marriage statutes or prohibitions.