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How to Find Maine Marriage Records
Maine marriage records consist of official documents that verify state approval for marriages contracted in the state. These records contain information about marrying and married couples as well as dates and locations of their wedding ceremonies. Maine recognizes same-sex marriages and provides official records for this type of marital union.
Are Maine Marriage Records Public?
Because Maine is a closed-record state, it restricts access to marriage records. To access a marriage record, a requester must show evidence that they are eligible or authorized to do so. The following are the people allowed by law to view a Maine marriage record:
- The persons named on the record
- Their domestic partners or current spouses
- Parents of the parties named on the record
- Descendants of the married parties “to the most remote degree”
- Legal guardians or representatives of the married parties
- Authorized genealogists
A requester must provide government-issued photo identification. Genealogists do not have access to certified copies of marriage records. This restriction to public access is only valid for 50 years from the date of solemnization.
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 Maine Marriage Records?
A complete set of Maine marriage records includes a marriage certificate and a marriage license. While one record serves as evidence that a couple has received permission to marry, the other confirms that they have performed their wedding rite. The latter marriage record grants the couple access to certain benefits when taking out loans, signing up for health insurance, and filing taxes.
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 Maine Marriage Licenses?
A Maine marriage license is the state’s official permission for a couple to get married. This permission is compulsory as Maine does not recognize informal marriage solemnized without a license. A Maine marriage license is different from a marriage certificate because it is given at the beginning of the marriage process. A couple with only a marriage license is not considered married.
Couples may receive marriage licenses at either the City or the Town level from a Municipal Clerk. Maine also grants marriage licenses to non-residents.
How to Change Your Name After Marriage in Maine
The first step to performing a name change after marriage in Maine is to obtain the official marriage certificate. Parties should then submit the certificate to each relevant government agency. To officially update their name change after marriage on official records, they need to update their social security record by contacting the Social Security Administration (SSA). Parties should fill out a social security name change application and attach a certified copy of their marriage certificate and proof of identity to this document.
Upon officially changing their name after marriage, the party must also notify the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles of the new changes. Maine law mandates completing this process within 30 days of changing a social security name. The party will need to request a duplicate license by providing their current driver's license and a certified copy of the marriage certificate.
What are Maine Marriage Certificates?
A Maine marriage certificate is the final document a married couple receives in the state and serves as proof of solemnization. A marriage certificate is different from a marriage license but the former can only be issued to a couple with the latter. A marriage certificate contains the following information:
- Couple’s names
- Date and place of marriage
- Name and signature of an authorized officiant
- Names of 2 witnesses to the solemnization
The person authorized to solemnize the marriage must return the couple’s marriage license to the Municipal Clerk or the State Registrar of Vital Statistics. The person must return the marriage license with a statement that includes all details as listed above. The statement must also include the office of the officiant under which they solemnized the marriage.
Maine Traditional Marriage Licenses
The Maine traditional marriage license is the authority a couple in the state needs to marry. A couple that meets the state’s requirements, including age and mental capacity, will receive a marriage license from a Municipal Clerk. The couple can solemnize their marriage immediately after receiving a marriage license.
Maine Common Law Marriage Licenses
Maine has no provision for Common Law marriages. A Supreme Judicial Court case ruled in 1969 that Common Law marriages are not valid. Therefore, Maine does not issue Common Law marriage licenses.
How Do I Get a Marriage License in Maine?
To apply for a marriage license in Maine, a couple must visit the Municipal Office in the Town or City where one of the applicants resides. If both applicants are from outside Maine, they may visit any Municipal Office in the state. Both applicants must be at least 18 years old to apply for a marriage license without parental consent. An applicant under 17 must provide written parental consent and written consent from a judge. A Maine marriage license costs $40.
Applicants must also provide government-issued photo IDs. An applicant who has been married before must provide a certified copy of either a death certificate of the last spouse or a divorce certificate. Maine also recognizes divorce certificates that were not issued in the state. If the divorce certificate is not in English, it must be translated into English by a disinterested third party at the couple’s expense.
A marriage license is only valid for 90 days. If a couple does not solemnize their marriage within 90 days, they must reapply for a new one. A Maine marriage license is only valid in the state, but the couple does not have to marry in the Town or City where they applied. A couple that fulfills the above requirements may receive their marriage license on the same day.
Before issuing a marriage license, a Municipal Clerk must provide both parties with a brochure from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, on the effects of drugs and alcohol on fetuses.
How Do I Obtain a Copy of My Marriage Certificate in Maine?
Marriage records in Maine are held by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Maine State Archives. A certified copy of a marriage certificate costs $15. Each additional copy costs $6. A non-certified copy of a marriage certificate costs $10. Fees are not refundable.
To request a copy of a marriage certificate in Maine, download and complete the state’s Vital Record Application Form. Enclose a money order or check payable to “Treasurer – State of Maine” for total copy fees as well as a self-addressed and stamped envelope and a copy of a photo ID. The request should provide the following details:
- Bride’s maiden name
- Groom’s name
- Date of marriage
- Requester’s daytime telephone number
- Name of Town or City where the marriage was solemnized
For marriage records before 1892, send the enclosed the request to:
Maine State Archives
State House Complex, Station 84
Augusta, ME 04333-0084
For marriage records from 1892 to the present, mail the request to:
Vital Records Office
Maine Department of Health and Human Services
220 Capitol Street
11 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0011
Marriage records are also available online. Credit cards including MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and Visa, are accepted for online payments. Online requests may incur an additional fee.