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How to Find Arkansas Marriage Records
Marriage records in Arkansas are documents issued by the state that validate Arkansans’ marriage status. These records are issued in the county where marriage ceremonies took place.
Arkansas 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, marriage licenses will not be issued until the parties’ parents or guardians provide consent.
Arkansas does not recognize same-sex marriages.
Are Arkansas Marriage Records 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 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 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 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 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 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.
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. 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 officiant
Married couples may need these certificates for various reasons, especially to effect name changes on official documents to related insurance and Social Security.
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.
How Do I Get a Marriage License in Arkansas?
To obtain a marriage license in Arkansas, both applicants must be physically present at the clerk’s office in the county where they wish to be married. This requirement is compulsory as Arkansas law does not allow anyone with a Power of Attorney to represent either party. The offices of Arkansas county clerks only process applications on weekdays between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m..
Both parties must be 18 years or older to apply for an Arkansas marriage license without consent from parents/guardians. They must also have valid government-issued means of identification, each with a clear photo. The identification must clearly show their names and their dates of birth.
The county clerk will issue a marriage license if the applicants are eligible. This license is only valid for 60 days and must be returned before it expires, whether or not it was used. Arkansas has no waiting period for adult applicants to receive their marriage licenses. However, people younger than 18 have to wait 5 business days for theirs.
Applicants must also pay a non-refundable fee of $60.00 either with a credit card or in cash.
How Do I Obtain a Copy of My Marriage Certificate in Arkansas?
There are several ways to obtain a copy of an 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 for this record online 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 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 for copy fees 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 money orders made 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.