How to Find Arkansas Marriage Records
Marriage records in Arkansas are documents issued by the state following the solemnization of a marriage. It is a legal and binding contract that expresses the willingness of both parties to live together in matrimony. In Arkansas a marriage record is typically issued in the county where marriage ceremony took place.
Arkansas marital law permits marriage for any male at least 17 years old or female at least 16 years old, as long as they are consenting parties. However, for persons younger than 18, Arkansas marriage licenses will not be issued until the parties’ parents or guardians provide consent.
In Arkansas, marriage records and other vital statistics records such as dissolution of marriage records are maintained by the Arkansas Vital Records Office of the Arkansas State Department of Health. These records are also maintained by the office of the Circuit Clerk in the County where the license was issues. These two offices can be contacted for marriage records in the state. Since a marriage record typically contains critical and personal records, the accessiblity of this record may vary. An Arkansas marriage record is usually exempt from public disclosure unless it is deemed a public marriage record. Public marriage information include the full name of the parties involved as well as the issuance and marriage dates.
Are Arkansas Marriage Records Public?
No, Arkansas marriage records are not considered part of Arkansas public records. By default, they are not available to the public. The Arkansas Department of Health, limits access to vital records, including marriage records, to a few categories of people. These include married individuals named on the records, their spouses, parents/guardians, and designated attorneys. In Arkansas, marriage records are only available to the public after 100 years.
Family Court records can include marriage records and dissolution of marriage records as well as 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.
How to Find Out if Someone is Married in Arkansas?
There are several options to know someone's marital status in Arkansas. Interested persons may search public records in the state to determine if a marriage certificate has been filed in the name of the individual. Other available options are:
- Requesters can search the Circuit Clerks' office for a marriage license with the name of the individual of interest.
- Individuals can visit the Arkansas Department of Health to find marriage records. They can search for the county where the marriage license was filed at the vital records office of the State Department of Health.
- Individuals can search online through third-party websites for Arkansas marriage records pertaining to the subject. Requesters will require the full name of the individual of interest, their birth date, the place and the date of marriage to search.
- Individuals can search through the search tool on the county websites using the name and birth date of the record subject.
How to Check Marriage Status Online in Arkansas
In Arkansas, interested persons can check marriage status online in one of three ways. They may visit the websites of government agencies who keep public marriage records. For example, the official website of the County Clerk (where the license was issued) or the Arkansas State Department of Health may be searched for a marriage license or other marriage records of a particular individual. Requesters will only have to provide the information of the subject in the search tool provided on the websites to search for their marriage license or other marriage records. Alternatively, third-party, public record websites can be searched for marriage records. However, record availability with third-party sites may vary.
What are Arkansas Marriage Records?
A marriage record in Arkansas consists of state-issued credentials that show that the state recognizes a person’s marriage. In addition to recording the union, this record allows the married party to gain access to the legal benefits of marriage including immigration and tax benefits.
Marriage records in Arkansas include Marriage licenses and certificates.
Both government websites and organizations may offer divorce and public 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. Furthermore, marriage and divorce records are considered highly private and are often sealed. Hence, the availability of these types of records cannot be guaranteed.
How to Check Marriage Records for Free
Individuals can check marriage records for free on government websites. Most government sites, such as the official county websites, and departments, such as the State Department of Health, provide search tools that can be used free of charge to search for marriage records like a marriage license. The individual will only need to supply the information of the record holders in the search tool provided. Requesters may also visit the physical offices of the Circuit Clerk or the vital records of the Department of Health to search for available marriage records. However, it should be noted that specific copy fees apply if the individuals want to obtain copies of the records, and especially if they require a certified copy of the record (bearing a raised seal).
How to Change Your Name After Marriage in Arkansas
Anyone legally married can change their name after marriage in Arkansas. Parties who have successfully obtained a marriage license will receive their marriage certificate after their wedding ceremony. This document is the official name change document in the State of Arkansas, and following its issuance, interested parties can also order copies of their marriage record from the Arkansas Department of Health.
Parties must file an SS5 application with any Social Security Administration office to facilitate a name change. After submitting a copy of their name change document and a government-issued photo ID, requesters will receive a new social security card with the new name after two to three weeks of applying. Interested parties must also ensure to update their driver’s license or state-issued ID when changing their name after marriage. To do this, parties must visit a local Arkansas Driver Control Office near them. Parties must then complete and submit an Affidavit for Legal Name Change form with a copy of marriage certificate.
What are Arkansas Marriage Certificates?
An Arkansas marriage certificate is an official document from the county clerk, signifying that a couple is legally married. A marriage certificate differs from a marriage license because it is only issued after the marriage has taken place, in the presence of witnesses and a certified officiant. A marriage certificate contains specific information about the wedding, including:
- Names of the married people
- Wedding date
- Where they got married
- Names of the witnesses
- Name of the person who officiated the wedding
Married couples may need these certificates for various reasons, especially to effect name changes on official documents to related insurance and Social Security.
How Do I Get My Marriage Certificate in Arkansas?
There are several ways to obtain a copy of the Arkansas marriage certificate. The Arkansas Department of Health is in charge of the state’s marriage records and interested parties can request for marriage certificates for $10.00 per copy. Additional fees may be added, depending on the method of request.
Interested parties can request an online marriage certificate by completing the Department of Health’s Marriage Request form. Required documents include copies of a valid driver’s license or two forms of other IDs and proof of a relationship with the persons on the requested records. Credit/debit cards are accepted for payment for online requests. Only Visa, Discover, American Express, and MasterCard are acceptable. A requester must allow 7-14 business days after approval, to receive the record.
To apply for a marriage certificate in Arkansas by mail, download a Marriage Coupon Application form, or obtain a physical copy of the form from any local health unit. Send the completed form along with a copy of a government-issued ID and a check or money order payable to the department to cover the cost of copy and search fees. These should be sent to the Arkansas Department of Health at:
Arkansas Department of Health
Vital Records, Slot 44
4815 West Markham Street
Little Rock, AR 72205
After the application is approved, delivery will take 7-14 business days.
The Arkansas Department of Health’s vital records office also caters to walk-in requests. Requesters may visit the office at 4815 West Markham St. Little Rock, AR 72205, between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., from Monday to Friday. These persons must also prove their eligibility, provide government-issued IDs, and pay for ordered certificates. Cash, credit/debit cards, checks, and a money order payable to the Department of Health are accepted for payment.
The Arkansas Vital Records Office accepts phone requests for marriage certificates. To order one by phone, dial the toll-free number: (866) 209-9482. Payments also vary depending on the shipping option selected and must be made via a credit/debit card.
What are Arkansas Marriage Licenses?
An Arkansas marriage license is a document that authorizes a couple in the state to marry. This is different from a marriage certificate as it precedes the wedding rites. A wedding that goes on without first receiving a marriage license, is not recognized by Arkansas.
Any eligible couple is free to apply for a marriage license from the clerk of the county where the marriage will take place. Arkansas does not require applicants to be residents of the state.
Arkansas Traditional Marriage Licenses
The Arkansas traditional marriage license simply allows a couple to get married as long as they are both of age and have both given consent. Getting approval for a traditional marriage license is straightforward and does not involve additional processes as applicable in a covenant marriage.
Arkansas Covenant Marriage Licenses
Arkansas is one of only three states that have the covenant marriage as an option. This type of marriage is different from the traditional marriage, because it is much more binding and a lot harder to dissolve. Arkansas law views a covenant marriage as a lifelong relationship and will only allow a dissolution when there is a “complete and total breach” of the mutual commitment.
Because of this, any couple interested in a covenant marriage is required to attend premarital counseling sessions that focus on the nature and duties of each partner in the marriage.
Along with the marriage license application, a couple must submit a declaration of intent to the county clerk, if they desire a covenant marriage. The declaration will contain a recitation and an attestation.
Are Prenups Public Record in Arkansas?
No. A prenup or prenuptial agreement is a contract between two individuals who intend to marry. Information concerning the prenuptial agreement is presented in Arkansas Premarital Agreement Act (AR Code § 9-11-401). The prenuptial agreement explains how financial issues such as property division, debts, and alimony will be handled in case of divorce. It should be noted that specific criteria must be considered when documenting the agreement to make it valid under state law. The agreement becomes effective after marriage.
The prenuptial agreement is generally a private one between the parties. However, the document may be registered at the office of the Register of Deeds. Once this is done, the prenuptial agreement becomes a public record that may be accessed by anyone in the state on request. As a result, a couple may register only the summary of their prenuptial agreement after redacting certain sensitive information.