In order to get married in Hawaii you must first obtain a Hawaii marriage license from a Department of Health appointed marriage license agent within a State facility.
Hawaii is unique in that it's the only U.S. State that issues marriages licenses through agents within judicial circuits instead of municipal or county government officials.
Here is a list of license agents throughout Hawaii.
Department of Health
The Director of Health within the Department of Health is responsible for overseeing Hawaii's marriage license and civil union license program. Applications, licenses, certificates, and officiant registrations are managed by them.
Since January 1, 2012, Hawaii has issued civil union licenses alongside marriage licenses. The agents, procedures, fees, and applications are effectively the same.
Any further reference to "marriage" should be taken to also include "civil union" unless otherwise specified.
Civil union to marriage
If you're in a civil union or legally equivalent relationship, you can take steps to convert your partnership into a marriage by applying for a marriage license.
Following solemnization, your civil union or equivalent dissolves as your marriage begins. Rights and benefits accrued will carry over with their start date unchanged.
A Hawaii marriage license costs $60; however, agents not employed by the Department of Health are required to add a $5 surcharge, which is theirs to keep.
The license fee includes one complimentary certified copy of your marriage certificate, which will be mailed to the forwarding address you specify on the application.
Note: Payments are nonrefundable.
Out of every marriage license purchased, the agent keeps $9 for compensation and remits the remaining $51 to the Director of Health who apportions it further.
Here's how all the money is allocated:
|54%||$32.00||Hawaii's general fund|
|8%||$4.50||Spouse and child abuse special account for the Department of Human Services|
|8%||$4.50||Spouse and child abuse special account for the judiciary|
|17%||$10.00||Birth defects special fund|
Note: Appointed agents employed as regular employees of the Department of Health don't get $9 compensation; that money goes into the State's general fund.
There are no residency requirements. You are free to apply with any licensing agent and marry anywhere in Hawaii.
The Hawaii marriage license application and civil union license application is virtually identical, save for swapping the word "marriage" with "civil union" and vice versa.
Following are the application questions:
- Date of birth (write out the month, e.g., January, February, March)
- Social security number
- Usual residential address:
- City or town
- State or foreign country
- Zip/postal code (located beneath the "self-designation" block)
- Place of birth:
- City or town and state; or
- City or town and foreign country
- Parents' names (maiden name for mother)
- Parents' places of birth (state or foreign country)
- Parents' alive:
Answers to the following questions are confidential, collected for statistical purposes, and won't appear on certified copies of your marriage certificate:
- Number of "this" marriage (e.g., first, second, third)
- In a civil union or equivalent relationship with the same partner (yes or no)
- Last marriage, civil union, or equivalent relationship:
- Ended by (e.g., divorce, dissolution, annulment, death, termination)
- End date (month, day, year)
- End location (state and county)
- Education (highest grade completed)
The following information is asked once for both of you:
- Blood relationship to each other (e.g., none, first cousins)
- Expected county of marriage:
- Expected date of marriage or civil union
- Expected officiant's name (must be licensed by the Department of Health)
- Forwarding address (to receive certified copy of marriage certificate)
- Publish name in newspaper (yes or no, if space is available)
- Home or mobile phone number
- Work phone number
- Email address
Some additional notes:
- Type or print in black ink only.
- Names should be written out in full (first, middle, and last) without the use of abbreviations or initials.
- Race, occupation, and education questions are optional. If omitted, write refused instead of leaving them blank.
- Do not sign the application until you're in the presence of the agent who administers the oaths.
If you "appear" to be under the age of 18, the agent is required to solicit identification confirming your age, such as a certified copy of your birth certificate or other proof (e.g., driver's license, state-issued ID, military ID).
ID for minors
If you're below the age of 18, a certified copy of your birth certificate is mandatory.
In Hawaii, the age of majority, which is legal adulthood, is 18 years. Anyone who's reached the age of majority can marry without parental consent or a judge's approval.
Under 18 years
If you're below the age of 18, you need written consent to marry from both of your parents or a guardian. An agent can supply you with a blank consent form.
A family court judge can also authorize your marriage, with our without the consent of your parents or guardian.
Under 16 years
If you're below the age of 16, you need permission to marry from a family court judge within the judicial district where you reside.
Under 15 years
If you're below the age of 15, you cannot marry.
If your previous marriage ended within the past 30 days, you must present a certified copy of the divorce, dissolution, or death certificate.
You are not required to submit to a blood test in order to get a marriage license.
Rubella and other health matters
Although there is no blood test requirement, the agent is required to give you Department of Health furnished information covering Rubella and pregnancy, AIDS/HIV, family planning, drug and fetal alcohol syndromes, and testing sites.
There is no longer a 3-day waiting period to receive a marriage license; you will be issued a license immediately after your application is filed with an agent.
Your marriage license will expire 30 days after issuance, which includes the day of issuance. After expiration, your license will be void and unusable.
You are not permitted to marry any of the following members of your family, whether the relationship was established through your parent's marriage, non-marriage, or civil union:
- Sibling (half or whole blood)
Although Hawaii does not automatically void an incestuous marriage established within the State, it is cited as grounds for annulment on par with bigamy.
You are allowed to marry your first cousin, as state law does not expressly forbid it.
Marriage joining an aunt or uncle with their niece or nephew is permitted if the relationship is connected through adoption.
You cannot marry if you have a living husband or wife or civil union partner; however, if you intend to marry your current civil union partner, you needn't dissolve the relationship first.
Any marriage that can be interpreted as bigamous is grounds for annulment through a suit brought forth by either party to the marriage or the former spouse.
Common-law marriages are invalid in Hawaii.
Marriage-by-proxy is not allowed in Hawaii. You and your intended spouse must both be together and physically present during the marriage ceremony.
Lawfully established out-of-state marriages are recognized in Hawaii as long as they're not "odious" in nature by the common standards of "civilized nations."
Acceptable religious officiants include ministers, priests, or authorized officials belonging to any religious denomination or society. Religious societies having no solemnizing official may solemnize marriages according to their customs.
Any active or retired judge, justice, or magistrate of a state or federal court in Hawaii may also solemnize your marriage. While judicial officers from other states cannot solemnize marriages, they can register to solemnize civil unions.
Refusal to solemnize
Religious officials, societies, and organizations can refuse to offer solemnization services, goods, or facilities if it violates their religious beliefs. If snubbed, no cause of action can be taken against them.
The performance of your marriage ceremony is called solemnization. You must deliver your marriage license to the authorized officiant before solemnization can begin.
Witnesses are not required to attend your marriage ceremony.
Completing the license
After your marriage has been performed, the officiant must complete the certificate portion of the license by documenting the date and place of marriage and who participated.
Returning the license
The officiant must return the completed marriage license to the district's health department within three business days after the ceremony to have your marriage recorded.
Record of solemnization
Once your completed marriage license has been received by the health department it will be recorded, which makes your marriage official with the State of Hawaii.
Failure to report marriage
If your officiant fails to report your marriage, you may report it by submitting a notarized affidavit to the Department of Health containing the date and place of marriage.
A marriage certificate is a legal document that serves as prima facie evidence of the facts stated within it: parties to marriage, date and place of marriage, recordation date.
After your marriage has been recorded, one certified copy of your marriage certificate will automatically be mailed to the "forwarding address" you specified on the application.
It can take between two and four months before your "free of charge" certificate arrives. If you need a copy sooner than that, you'll have to purchase one directly.
Extra certified copies can be purchased from the Hawaii's Vital Records Office for $10 for the first copy and $4 for each additional copy.
Name change after marriage
You can undergo a name change after marriage by presenting a certified copy of your marriage certificate to the Social Security Administration, Department of Transportation, and other government and nongovernment institutions.
Middle and last name change options
Either party to a marriage or civil union may change their middle and/or last name to the current or any prior middle or last name of either party. Moreover, you can choose any combination of names, whether hyphenated or not.