Universal Life Church

New Jersey Wedding Laws

The Garden State is considered one of the more densely populated states. With so many people per square mile, it makes sense that certain details surrounding marriage laws can get lost in the crowd. The Universal Life Church Ministries has put together this in-depth guide to help make planning a wedding far easier to tackle.

New Jersey Marriage Requirements

Min. Age of Couple:
Age 18
Residency:
Not Required
Min. Distance of Kin Allowed:
First Cousins
Marriage Equality:
Yes

The basic rules for marriage in New Jersey are quite straightforward. Two people under the age of 18 cannot wed there under any circumstances. Additionally, New Jersey does not allow for marriage between any dependents or ancestors, as well as siblings and any relative who is considered whole or half-blood kin. However, marriage between first cousins can be sanctioned in the state. Both federal and state laws allow same-sex couples to be married within New Jersey.

Non-residents are also allowed to wed in the state, but there are certain restrictions. The couple must go to a specific county to obtain the license and can only go back to that county's registrar to submit completed paperwork and other required documentation.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    N.J. Rev. Stat. § 37:1-1. Certain marriages or civil unions prohibited.

    a. A man shall not marry or enter into a civil union with any of his ancestors or descendants, or his sister or brother, or the daughter or son of his brother or sister, or the sister or brother of his father or mother, whether such collateral kindred be of the whole or half blood.

    b. A woman shall not marry or enter into a civil union with any of her ancestors or descendants, or her sister or brother, or the daughter or son of her brother or sister, or the sister or brother of her father or mother, whether such collateral kindred be of the whole or half blood.

    c. A marriage or civil union in violation of any of the foregoing provisions shall be absolutely void.

    Amended 2006, c.103, s.6.

    N.J. Rev. Stat § 37:1-3. Where marriage or civil union license to be obtained.

    The marriage or civil union license shall be issued by the licensing officer in the municipality in which either party resides or, if neither party is a resident of the State, in the municipality in which the proposed marriage or civil union is to be performed.

    Amended 2006, c.103, s.8.

    N.J Rev. Stat § 37:1-6. A marriage or civil union license shall not be issued to a minor under the age of 18 years.

    . amended 1946, c.185, s.3; 1953, c.34, s.2; 1977, c.60; 1991, c.91, s.367; 2006, c.103, s.10; 2013, c.103, s.105; 2018, c.42, s.3.

How to Get a New Jersey Marriage License

Min. Age of Witnesses:
None
Couple's Consent Required:
Yes
Pronouncement Required:
Yes

Obtaining a marriage license in New Jersey requires following a few simple steps. The couple must pick up an application for a marriage license and appear before the county clerk. As with most license applications, both members of the couple will need to show photo identification in order to verify all data on the paperwork. The application fee is currently $28 in New Jersey. When the license is released, the couple must bring along a witness. The couple will then bring the document to the wedding, where it will require additional signatures.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    N.J. Rev. Stat. § 37:1-2. Necessity of marriage or civil union license; "licensing officer" defined.

    Before a marriage or a civil union can be lawfully performed in this State, the persons intending to be married or to enter into a civil union shall obtain a marriage or civil union license from the licensing officer and deliver it to the person who is to officiate.

    In the case of persons intending to be married or to enter into a civil union pursuant to section 7 of P.L.2011, c.179 (C.37:1-17.3), one of the persons intending to be married or to enter into a civil union and the attorney-in-fact for the other person shall obtain a marriage or civil union license and deliver it to the person who is to officiate.

    If the marriage or civil union is to be performed by or before any religious society, institution or organization, the license shall be delivered to such religious society, institution or organization, or any officer thereof.

    As used in this chapter, "licensing officer" means, as to cities of the first class, the city clerk; as to other municipalities, the State registrar; or the deputy of any said official designated by him to issue licenses during his absence.

    amended 2006, c.103, s.7; 2011, c.179, s.2.

    N.J. Rev. Stat. § 37:1-3. Where marriage or civil union license to be obtained.

    The marriage or civil union license shall be issued by the licensing officer in the municipality in which either party resides or, if neither party is a resident of the State, in the municipality in which the proposed marriage or civil union is to be performed.

    Amended 2006, c.103, s.8.

Applying For a Marriage License in New Jersey

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Religious
Mandatory Waiting Period:
72 Hours
License Valid For:
30 Days
License Must Be Submitted:
Within 5 Days of Ceremony

There are some interesting facts that set New Jersey laws apart from other states. For one, the ceremony cannot take place for at least 72 hours after the license is obtained by the couple. It is possible to waive this waiting period, but special permission is required from the Superior Court. The officiant or couple must deliver the completed license back to the registrar within 30 days of the application’s approval and five days from the wedding itself.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    N.J. Rev. Stat. § 37:1-4. Issuance of marriage or civil union license, emergencies, validity.

    The marriage or civil union license shall not be issued by a licensing officer sooner than 72 hours after the application therefor has been made; provided, however, that the Superior Court may, by order, waive all or any part of said 72-hour period in cases of emergency, upon satisfactory proof being shown to it. Said order shall be filed with the licensing officer and attached to the application for the license.

    A marriage or civil union license, when properly issued as provided in this article, shall be good and valid only for 30 days after the date of the issuance thereof.

    amended 1946, c.185, s.1; 1953, c.34, s.1; 1955, c.61; 1991, c.91, s.366; 2006, c.103, s.9; 2018, c.42, s.1.

    N.J. Rev. Stat. § 26:8-41 Transmission of marriage and civil union licenses and certificates, power of attorney.

    Every person or religious society, institution or organization solemnizing a marriage or civil union shall, within 5 days thereafter, transmit the certificate of marriage or civil union and the marriage or civil union license to the local registrar of the registration district in which the marriage or civil union occurs or to the clerk of the county board of health. In the case of marriages or civil unions performed pursuant to section 7 of P.L.2011, c.179 (C.37:1-17.3), the person or religious society, institution or organization solemnizing the marriage or civil union, in addition to transmitting the certificate of marriage or civil union and the marriage or civil union license , shall also transmit the power of attorney.

    The local registrar or clerk of the county board of health shall stamp every certificate of marriage or civil union so received with the date of its receipt and the name of the registration district in which it is filed.

    amended 1965, c.78, s.59; 2006, c.103, s.44; 2011, c.179, s.1.

How to Become a Wedding Officiant in New Jersey

Min. Age of Minister:
Age 18
Residency:
Not Required
Document(s) Required:
Varies by County
Online Ordination Recognized:
Yes
Relevant Office of Registration:
Local Registrar
Latest Document(s) Submission Date Allowed:
Varies by County
Minister I.D. # Issued:
No

In New Jersey, ministers who are ordained through the Universal Life Church Ministries are considered members of the clergy. This allows ULC ministers to officiate a wedding regardless of gender or religious background. Couples often opt for this because it allows them the chance to bring a close friend or family member into the ceremony in an active way. Though not always required, a minister of the ULC may be asked to produce specific documentation in order to prove his or her status within the church.

The ULC offers a Classic Wedding Package to ministers who may need to show official documents to a registrar. All of the required paperwork is included, which will make your life a lot easier when asked to show your credentials.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    N.J. Rev. Stat. §37:1-13 Authorization to solemnize marriages and civil unions.

    a. Authorization to solemnize marriages and civil unions.

    Each judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, each judge of a federal district court, United States magistrate, judge of a municipal court, judge of the Superior Court, judge of the Tax Court, administrative law judge, retired judge of the Superior Court or Tax Court, retired administrative law judge, or judge of the Superior Court or Tax Court, the former County Court, the former County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, or the former County District Court who has resigned in good standing, surrogate of any county, county clerk, and any mayor or former mayor not currently serving on the municipal governing body or the deputy mayor when authorized by the mayor, or chairman of any township committee or village president of this State, every member of the clergy of every religion, and any civil celebrant who is certified by the Secretary of State to solemnize marriages or civil unions as set forth in subsection b. of this section, are hereby authorized to solemnize marriages or civil unions between such persons as may lawfully enter into the matrimonial relation or civil union; and every religious society, institution or organization in this State may join together in marriage or civil union such persons according to the rules and customs of the society, institution or organization.

    b. (...)

Getting Married in New Jersey

Marriage By Proxy Allowed:
No
Minister Required to be Present:
Yes

There are few requirements placed on the couple in terms of how the ceremony must go. The couple is free to follow whatever whims they wish and create an event that perfectly reflects their love and religious beliefs. However, it is mandatory in New Jersey that both members of the couple be physically present for the event. In addition, there must be a formal declaration of consent before the officiant and witnesses. Typically, this is covered in the ceremony itself. Still, it is important to include this declaration in some fashion if you forego tradition.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    N.J. Rev. Stat. § 37:1-17. Marriage or civil union license; information provided.

    On the marriage or civil union license shall be the form for the certificate of marriage or civil union in quadruplicate, to which the licensing officer shall have set forth particularly therein the name, age, parentage, birthplace, residence, Social Security number and domestic status of each party, whether single, widowed, divorced, or a former civil union or domestic partner and the names and county of birth of their parents. The Social Security number shall be kept confidential and may only be released for child support enforcement purposes, and shall not be considered a public record pursuant to P.L.1963, c.73 (C.47:1A-1 et seq.). The person by whom or the religious society, institution, or organization by or before which, the marriage or civil union was solemnized, shall personally or by legally authorized agent subscribe where indicated on the form the date and place of the marriage or civil union. Each certificate of marriage or civil union shall also contain the signature and residence of at least two witnesses who were present at the marriage or civil union ceremony.

    Amended 1980, c.128, s.1; 1998, c.1, s.45; 2002, c.88, s.3; 2006, c.103, s.20.

Finalizing the Union

Officiant's Title on Marriage License:
Minister
Church/Ordaining Body:
Universal Life Church Ministries
Address of Church:
Minister's Home Address

The last steps involved in a wedding ceremony revolve around the officiant. It is the responsibility of the minister to fill out and look over the marriage license. Should there be a blank spot where the couple was supposed to sign or if a witness left the event before a signature was obtained, the officiant must contact the parties to have the document completed in a correct fashion. The minister is also required to fill out the form with his or her own personal information. This will include a name, address, and a few other minor details.

Understanding what will be expected of you when officiating a wedding in New Jersey is quite important. Before you can help two people you care about tie the knot, give yourself time to refresh yourself on all the basics. The Universal Life Church Ministries has made it easy for you to find the answers to any lingering questions you might have. Simply explore the resources and feel confident in your approach.