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A marriage that’s right with the law

January 29, 2011

Months of planning, buying dresses, renting tuxedos and plenty of friends and family would all be for nothing if brides and grooms forget the one piece of paper that makes their big day legal.

The marriage license may be obtained at the county clerk's office of either the bride or groom's county of residency. For example, if a bride's residency is Randolph County and her fiance lives in Barbour County, the two may obtain the marriage license from either county. If the bride and groom both reside in Randolph County, they must get the license from the Randolph County Clerk's office.

Both the bride and groom must provide a state-issued identification card, driver's license or passport with their current address. Randolph County Clerk Brenda Wiseman said some individuals applying for a marriage license in her office provide IDs with addresses that are their former residence or their parents' home. With the issued marriage license, a couple may be married anywhere in West Virginia within 60 days. Wiseman said a couple may apply for a license in Randolph County, but have their wedding ceremony at Snowshoe.

Article Photos

SIMPLE CEREMONY — Travis and Heather (Bailey) Morgan decided to forego the big wedding and were married by Randolph County Circuit Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong. (CU and The Inter-Mountain/Anthony Gaynor)?© The Inter-Mountain, all rights reserved.

Those who live outside of the state and would like to be married in West Virginia may obtain a marriage license from any county courthouse in West Virginia. Wiseman explained that if a couple resides in Virginia but plans to be married in West Virginia, they may decide to apply for their marriage license in the West Virginia county that is closest to their home. The out-of-state couple also has 60 days to be married anywhere in West Virginia.

There is no longer a waiting period or blood test required for those who are 18 or older. Wiseman said couples can be married the same day they receive their license from a county clerk's office. Each marriage license costs $36.

Anyone younger than 18 must have consent from both of his or her parents; and a 48-hour waiting period applies. If the bride or groom's parents are divorced, the parent with custody must provide the consent; however, a divorced parent of a minor has to provide proof they are divorced and have custody of the child.

In Randolph County, if a couple does not have a traditional service performed by a minister, Family Court Judge Michele Good or Circuit Court Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong can administer the marriage ceremony. Wiseman recommends calling either of the judges' offices to schedule a time for the marriage. The person who performs the ceremony completes a section of the marriage certificate.

Afterward, the couple returns the document to the county clerk's office where they applied for the license so it can be filed.

Wiseman said couples must request certified copies - which are $5 each - of the certificate.

The certified copies of the marriage certificate can be made the day the document is returned to the courthouse.



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