Monday, September 12, 2022

What You Should Know If You Plan To Elope

Image by Jay George from Pixabay

You hear about couples opting to elope rather than facing the hassle of planning a wedding. Eloping might seem like a great idea, but there are legal issues to take into consideration:

Is eloping legal in your state or the place where you plan to elope?

Get your marriage certificate before you fly somewhere. Marriage laws vary from location to location, domestically and internationally, and nothing would be more embarrassing when your family and friends discover the marriage is not legal.

You will likely need a witness and an officiant. Check your local laws. According to Rocket Lawyer, witness regulations vary from state to state. Check not only your state but your county about who is required to witness your union and what they must do to confirm it.

Know that there is a required waiting period to get your marriage license. If you are wondering why Las Vegas is so popular for elopements, it is because the laws there require no waiting period between filing for a license and getting it. You can pre-register online and pick up your license by showing your identification there. But, it is not like that everywhere. So plan your elopement after you have all that squared away.

For an officiant, check the legalities where you are going. A variety of people can act as an officiant, but that depends on legalities and restrictions. If you want a friend to be ordained or want a ship captain to do the act, think ahead and pick someone who can perform that duty on-site with you, wherever you go.

In California, anyone officiating a wedding is legally required to complete the marriage license and return it to the county clerk within 10 days of the event for registration. Every state is different. Besides hashing out the legalities of getting your license where you will live, make sure there is someone available to marry you where you are going.

Other countries can have different residency requirements in place for you to be officially married there. A ceremonial “marriage” overseas might be nice, but you will have to decide if it is worth doing if it is not official. If it is official, you will just have to do the legal matter at home.  

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