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How to Find Delaware Marriage Records
In the State of Delaware, marriage records are vital documents that are used to legalize unions between two people in domestic relationships. These records validate and serve as proof of marriages that occurred in the State. Delaware authorizes only certain government officers to issue and prepare marriage records.
Are Delaware Marriage Records Public?
Marriage Records in the State of Delaware are only publicly accessible after 50 years. Before they enter the public domain, the parties named on these records may access them. Other eligible parties include their parents/guardians, children, and legal representatives.
While actual marriage records are confidential for half a century, Delaware makes marriage record books and marriage license books maintained by the Clerks of the Peace available to the public. Delaware marriage records book provide the following information about marriages contracted in the various counties:
- Dates of marriage ceremonies
- Names of the officiants who performed the ceremonies
A marriage license book is a record of all licenses issued in the State of Delaware. It holds the following information:
- Full names of the parties issued marriage licenses
- Addresses of licensed applicants
- Ages of approved applicants
- Dates when the licenses were issued
Both records are open to public inspection.
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.
What are Delaware Marriage Records?
Delaware marriage records are documents that contain information which prove the validity of marriages solemnized in the state. They are two major types of marriage records in the State: marriage certificates and marriage licenses.
Usually, persons requesting copies of marriage records do so for a variety of reasons including genealogy and ancestry research as well as identification, legal, insurance, and financial purposes.
The information contained in a marriage record may include:
- Marriage license number
- Full names of the bride and groom, including the bride’s maiden name
- Full names of the bride and groom’s parents
- State/county where the marriage took place
- Name and signature of the 2 witnesses
- Name and signature of the officiant
- Date/time of marriage
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 Delaware Marriage Licenses?
Anyone who wants to be wed in the State of Delaware is required, by law, to apply for a marriage license. This document gives the parties permission to proceed with their marriage ceremony. The various Clerks of the Peace in different counties in the state are responsible for issuing all marriage licenses in Delaware. Marriage licenses in Delaware are only valid for 30 days from the application date.
How to Change Your Name After Marriage in Delaware
To perform a name change after marriage in Delaware, the first step is to obtain a marriage certificate or court order. Next, parties must inform the Social Security Administration (SSA), otherwise, the process is incomplete. Applicants must complete a Form SS-5 and provide a photo ID and name change document to complete this process. In turn, the SSA will issue a new social security card after two to three weeks.
Per state laws, individuals changing their name after marriage must update their driver's license within 30 days after receiving a new social security card. In addition, applicants must bring a certified copy of their marriage record and their new social security card to any Delaware DMV location.
What are Delaware Marriage Certificates?
Delaware marriage certificates are documents issued to newlyweds after their wedding ceremonies. The following details can be found on a Delaware marriage certificate:
- Full names of the bride and groom
- Time/date of the marriage ceremony
- Place of the marriage ceremony
- Name and signature of the officiant
- Names and signatures of two witnesses (who are at least 18 years of age)
Delaware Common-Law Marriage Licenses
The State of Delaware does not recognize common-law marriages. Therefore, it does not authorize its Clerks of the Peace to issue common-law marriage licenses.
Delaware Civil Union Marriage Licenses
This type of license is issued to individuals of the same sex who wish to be wed in the State of Delaware. Two individuals who want to obtain a civil union license must meet the following conditions:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Not related to each other
- Be of sound mind and not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the application
They must also appear together before a Clerk of the Peace when applying for this license. Applicants who are residents of the state, but not known by the Clerk of the Peace, must present a reliable guarantor to vouch for them.
Information required during the application include:
- Applicants’ full names
- Applicants’ genders, races, and occupations
- Applicants’ dates of birth
- Full names and addresses of their parents
- Date/place of previous civil unions (if applicable)
- Previous domestic partnerships/marriages (if applicable)
- Place/court of probation (if applicable)
- Date/time of application
- Applicants’ Social Security Numbers
How Do I Get a Marriage License in Delaware?
To obtain a marriage license in the state, eligible individuals should visit the Office of the Clerk of the Peace at any of these county court locations:
800 N. French St.
Wilmington, DE 19801
2 The Circle,
Georgetown, DE 19947
555 Bay Rd.
Dover, DE 19901
An intending couple applying for a marriage license must appear before the Clerk of the Peace together. They must meet these requirements:
- Be 18 years of age or older at the time of application
- Apply for the license at least 24 hours before the marriage ceremony
- Be of sound mind and faculty at the time of application
- Have valid photo IDs (State ID, Driver’s License, Passport, United States Visa ID, Military ID, or Consulate ID)
- Have no blood or familial relationship to each other
Applicants will be required to provide the following details:
- Full names
- Places of residence
- Full names of parents’ (including mothers’ maiden names)
- Parents' addresses
- State/county of birth of parents
- Ages, races, and occupations
- Date and place of a former marriage (if married previously)
- Applicants’ courts and places/institutions of probation (if applicable)
- Information on previous divorces (if applicable)
Delaware makes certain exemptions for parties who are critically ill. In these cases, the indisposed individuals may be represented by their physicians. Furthermore, applicants who are divorced, widowed, or who have had their marriages annulled are required to provide certified divorce/annulment decrees or certified death certificates of their deceased spouses.
Applicants should note that the Offices of the Clerks of Peace in Sussex, Kent, and Newcastle counties each have different businesses and requirements for obtaining marriage licenses. A Delaware marriage license costs $70, if one of the applicants is a resident of the state. Non-residents are required to pay a fee of $120 for a marriage license.
While some third-party sites accept orders for Delaware marriage licenses, applicants are still required to visit the Office a Clerk of the Peace office within 30 days to complete the process. They are required to come with all paperwork used for their online applications when collecting their licenses.
How Do I Obtain a Copy of My Marriage Certificate in Delaware?
To obtain certified copies of marriage certificates in Delaware, applicants (21 years and above) must submit their requests to the county offices of the state's Vital Statistics where their marriage licenses were issued. They may submit a completed Application for a Certified Copy of a Delaware Marriage Certificate (Same-Gender version) or a written request. However, the Office of Vital Statistics only keeps records that are 50 years old and newer.
Members of the public who want to obtain marriage certificates older than 50 years may apply to the Delaware Public Archives by calling the number: (302) 744-5000 or mail their requests to:
Delaware Public Archives
121 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. North
Dover, DE 19901
To request for copies of a marriage certificate from the Delaware Vital Statistics Office, visit any of the following offices in person or by send a mail request to:
Adams State Service Center
546 South Bedford Street
Georgetown, DE 19947
Jesse S. Cooper Building
417 Federal Street
Dover, DE 19901
University Office Plaza - Chopin Building
258 Chapman Road
Newark, DE 19702
Those that elect to send written requests rather than completed application forms must forward their letters to the Office of Vital Statistics in Kent County. Each request must be signed and contain the following details:
- Full names of the parties named on the marriage certificate
- Type of marriage license issued
- Date of marriage
- Applicant’s daytime telephone number
Enclose the required fee with the request. Delaware Vital Statistics Office charges $25 for each certified copy of a marriage certificate.