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How to Get Married in Florida

by Tamara Runzel

Getting married in Florida requires certain legal steps to ensure your marriage is valid. You and your future spouse must both apply for your marriage license in person. It requires paying a fee, reading the Family Law Handbook, and providing some personal information such as your picture ID, your social security number and information on any previous marriages.

Find the nearest county clerk’s office and pick up a Family Law Handbook and list of recognized providers for Florida's premarital course. You can also find the handbook and a list of providers online.

Read through the handbook before applying for your marriage license. Both parties are required to make a sworn affidavit when you apply that you’ve read the handbook. The handbook explains the marital contract and laws dealing with that relationship. It mainly covers areas dealing with divorce and children, such as a parenting plan, relocation restrictions, financial obligations and community resources available to divorcing or separating parents.

Sign up for an approved premarital course. The course is approximately four hours long and covers areas such as conflict management, communication skills, financial responsibilities and parenting. The course is not required for applicants that aren’t Florida residents and is optional for Florida residents, but it saves you more than $30 off the cost of your license. Taking the course also waives the three-day waiting period after your license is approved. The cost depends on the provider, but ranges from free to several hundred dollars. Both parties must take the course and receive a certificate of completion for it to count.

Bring proper identification to the county clerk’s office and fill out the required paperwork. Both parties must present a valid picture ID such as a driver’s license, military ID, passport or state ID and provide your social security number. Your actual social security card isn't required. If either of you were previously married, you are also required to provide the exact date of the divorce, death or annulment. Most counties do not require paperwork to validate this date.

Pay the required fee. A marriage license is just over $93 if you didn’t complete the premarital course and $61 if you completed the course. If you’re unable to pay the fee, you can make up to three payments over 90 days, but you won’t receive your license until it is paid in full.

Schedule your wedding within 60 days of approval of your marriage license. Any clergy member, active or retired judicial officer, clerk of the circuit court or notary public may perform your ceremony.

Items you will need
  • Fee
  • Valid picture ID
  • Family Law Handbook
  • Premarital course (optional)

Tip

  • There is a three-day waiting period after your license is approved if you are a Florida resident but didn’t take the premarital course. Non-residents don’t have a waiting period.

Warning

  • As of November 2014, same-sex marriages are not recognized in Florida. According to state statutes, marriage is a “legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.”

About the Author

Tamara Runzel has been writing military, parenting, family and relationship articles since 2008. Runzel started in television news, followed by education before deciding to be a stay at home mom. Her articles have appeared in military publications as well as numerous online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from University of the Pacific.

Photo Credits

  • Image Source/Digital Vision/Getty Images