Especially in the modern era, official marriage tends to be less common than it has been in the past. It’s become more common for people to live together, have joint bank accounts, and even have kids without officially being married. In some cases, they may even refer to each other as a spouse, but not actually be married.
In the eyes of the law, however, the only thing that decides whether someone is married to another person is a marriage license. When you get a marriage license, it might not change how you live, depending on who you are, but it will definitely change things for you legally. That’s just one reason a marriage license is so important.
What Is a Marriage License?
A marriage license legalizes a marriage according to the state and the federal government. A marriage license doesn’t necessarily say anything about how you’re living, whether you have children, or what you tell people about your relationship. What it does is bind together a lot of your legal responsibilities. For example, you may legally own certain things like a house in both of your names. To receive a marriage license, both spouses and the officiant have to sign the signatures, and some states may also require witness signatures.
What Can Someone Use a Marriage License For?
A marriage license is an important document that proves you are married to another person. You may need to provide a marriage license in certain circumstances to receive spousal benefits, including but not limited to these:
- Social Security
- Filing joint taxes
- Visiting someone in the hospital
- Adding someone to your insurance
- Getting medical or survival benefits
- Applying for residency or citizenship
In many situations, this is because the organization that requires the marriage license only accepts legal marriages. However, if you’re living with someone and you’re not married, some organizations may allow proof of cohabitation, such as documents proving that you share financial obligations. Talk to the organization in question to get more information about their requirements.
Why Might You Need to Look Up a Marriage License?
Marriage licenses are an important part of understanding someone’s life, which means it makes sense that you might need to look up a marriage license at some point. There are many reasons to look up a marriage license, including all of these:
- Suspicion of bigamy
- Uncertainty about the validity of a presented license
- Attempting to find someone’s spouse
- Learning more about a person
- Creating a family tree
As you can see, the reasons range from extremely benign, like trying to track your ancestry, to more serious, like worrying that someone is trying to marry more than one person at a time. That’s why marriage records are public; it allows anyone to double-check these things for themselves.
Can Enformion Help You Find a Marriage License?
Because marriage licenses are public, Enformion can help you look up marriage licenses filed all across the United States. These can be helpful in researching ancestry or in making sure that a marriage license is legitimate, and it may even be able to help you track someone by finding their legal partner and getting in touch with that person. No matter what you’re using it for, Enformion can help you find marriage licenses more easily.