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Delaware Marriage Records

Delaware marriage records contain official information on weddings that have occured in the state. The Office of Vital Statistics maintains such records and provides public access in compliance with state laws.  Some of the information that may be found in a marriage record include:

  • Name of the spouses
  • Date of the wedding
  • The wedding location (city/town and county)
  • Name of parents
  • Names of witnesses and officials present during marriage
  • Number of previous marriages for either party

Marriage records are necessary for multiple reasons. They may be needed for activities requiring proof of marriage, such as opening a joint bank account, changing a name, or applying for spousal benefits. 

What Types of Marriage Records are available in Delaware

Delaware maintains different types of marriage records, including marriage certificates and licenses. Although certificates and licenses are types of marriage records, they aren't similar. 

Delaware Marriage Certificate:

A marriage certificate is an official document issued to couples after an officiated wedding to prove that the couple is married. As such, it is only created and becomes valid after the wedding. As of 2024, Delaware provides two marriage certificates: marriage certificates for heterosexual couples and same-sex marriage certificates. However, the general requirements and process of obtaining either is the name.

Delaware Marriage License

A Delaware marriage license is an official document issued to couples who intend to marry. It authorizes the marriage, giving two parties the right to marry anywhere within the state. Marriage licenses are issued before the wedding and remain valid for 30 days. If an official wedding ceremony is not done within this period, both parties must reapply and pay for a new license to have the wedding. 

Are Delaware Marriage Records Public?

Delaware marriage records become public information after a set period. Any record older than 50 years falls under the umbrella of public records. But before this expiration, marriage records are restricted to only the parties listed on the record and other eligible persons. 

How to Find Marriage Records in Delaware

Anyone can find or obtain copies of a marriage record by following several general steps.

Step 1. Determine when and where the marriage occured

To find marriage records in Delaware, you'll need first to determine the age of the record. Older records are housed at the Delaware Public Archives, while the Delaware Office of Vital Statistics maintains more recent records.

Step 2. Provide Necessary Information 

Certified copies of recent marriage records can be obtained by submitting an application to the Office of Vital Statistics. Some of the information that must be provided in a marriage application includes the following:

  • Name of both parties (as appears on marriage certificate)
  • Birth date of both parties
  • Date of marriage
  • Place of marriage
  • Relationship to the registrant (child, parent, legal guardian, etc.)
  • Requester's details (name, home address, email address, and daytime phone)

Depending on your relationship to the persons listed on the record, you may also need to provide proof of relationship, such as a birth certificate.

Step 3. Submit Completed Application 

The Office of Vital Statistics provides multiple options for obtaining certified marriage records. Completed applications can be submitted by mail or online. You can submit an application in person at any of the local offices in each county, 

  • Kent County (Central office), 417 Federal St., Dover, DE 19901
  • New Castle County,  258 Chapman Road, Newark, DE 19702
  • Sussex County, 546 S. Bedford St., Georgetown, DE 19947

The county office locations are open to applicants from Monday to Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. (holidays not included). Alternatively, you can mail your application with a self-addressed stamped envelope, copies of a valid government ID, and a money order or check payable to the Office of Vital Statistics. The office charges a non-refundable $25 for each copy of a certified record.

How to Get a Marriage License in Delaware

Anyone can obtain a marriage license in Delaware, as the state has no residency restrictions on who may marry within the state. The following are some of the general requirements for obtaining a marriage license.

  • Both parties must be eligible to marry. This means they must be at least 18 and not currently in another marriage. Individuals under guardianship must seek and provide the guardian's written consent. Marriage between relatives is prohibited.
  • Anyone who has been previously married must provide certified documents that establish their affirmed single status. Some examples include a certified death certificate if the previous partner is deceased or a certified record of an annulment or divorce decree.
  • Applicants who have legally changed their names must provide certified copies of the name change document.
  • Couples who apply for a marriage license must do so together. Applications are generally received at the Clerk of Peace Office during the work week between 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
  • Both parties must provide documents to confirm their identity and address. Some acceptable options include a valid passport, DMV-issued ID, or driver's license. In addition, the couple may need to provide additional information such as the name of their parents, place of birth, and current residential address.

Couples who meet these requirements can obtain a marriage license by applying and paying the fee. State residents pay $50 for the license and $20 for the recording fee, while non-residents must pay $100 for the license and $20 for the recording fee. Once issued, licenses have a 24-hour waiting period before becoming active and remain valid for 30 days.

Note: Residents who do not speak English may require the services of a third-party translator. In addition, applicants who are on probation or parole will need special authorization. 

Who can obtain Marriage Records in Delaware?

Generally, almost anyone can obtain copies of public marriage records maintained by the government. Residents can request copies of older records by contacting officials at the following address:

Delaware Public Archives

121 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. North

Dover, DE 19901

However, applicants must prove their eligibility to obtain more recent records (for marriages created in the last 40 years). Delaware laws restrict the access of such records to only the people named on the record, direct relatives (siblings, parents, and children), and authorized legal representatives.  

Can You Lookup Online Marriage Records For Free in Delaware

Members of the public can look up marriage records older than 40 years at no cost by contacting the Delaware Public Archives. The office maintains records of marriage in the state dating from the 1600s to the early 1930s. For more recent records, residents can obtain certified copies by contacting the Bureau of Vital Statistics or the clerk in the town where the marriage occured. However, access to such records may require a fee.

Alternatively, record seekers may look up marriage records using free third-party platforms. Such sites provide access to records compiled from multiple jurisdictions while operating as private entities independent of any state government agency. Access to some records may require essential information, such as the subject's name or marriage location. 

Is Delaware a Common Law State for Marriage?

Delaware is not a common-law marriage state. Per state marriage laws (Code Title 13, Chapter 1), couples who wish to marry in the state must first obtain a marriage license and then establish their relationship with an officiated marriage ceremony. However, although state laws do not permit the creation of common law marriages, Delaware recognizes the validity of marriages created in states that allow this type of union, including Alabama, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Iowa, Kansas,  Montana, South Carolina, and Texas.

Some of the general requirements for the formation of a common-law marriage in those states include:

  • Parties must have lived together for a minimum period (usually seven years)
  • Parties must be old enough to marry (as defined by individual state laws)
  • Both parties must indicate their intent and hold themselves as married to others.

As an alternative to common-law marriages, couples living together in Delaware may be able to establish some rights and responsibilities using a cohabitation agreement. Under this arrangement, both parties can outline specific details such as financial obligations during the relationship, property rights, and agreements on living expenses.

Note: Cohabitation agreements may also be called a relationship contract, no-nuptial agreement, couples contract, and common-law partnership agreement.

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