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Marriage License Requirements for Spartanburg, South Carolina

by Ellen Falconetti

Marriage licenses in South Carolina are issued by the probate court of each county but, with the exception of fees and waiting periods, requirements are uniform across the state. Fees and waiting periods vary from one county to another and are subject to change from time to time. The clerk of the probate court of Spartanburg County will have the most up-to-date information. It's important to find out the exact fee before applying because cash payment in the exact amount is usually required. Office of the Probate Court Spartanburg County Courthouse 1st Floor, Suite 302 180 Magnolia Street Spartanburg, SC 29306 864-596-2556 www.co.spartanburg.sc.us

Presence Requirement

At least 24-hours before a license can be issued, both parties must appear before the probate judge to file a written application and to swear an oath affirming they are both legally entitled to marry. The application also includes their names, ages and addresses. No further residency is required before or after the application and neither needs to be a South Carolina resident.

Routine Documents

The application requires the social security numbers or, in the case of resident aliens, alien identification numbers, of the bride and the groom. The judge may require both parties produce their social security cards. Other documents may be required to demonstrate proof of age. In South Carolina, people over the age of 18 can marry without parental permission, however, if they are less than 25 years old, they are required to produce proof of age. Acceptable documents may include any of these: valid driver's license, social security card, original birth certificate or certified copy, valid passport, South Carolina ID card issued by the Department of Public Safety or a current military ID.

Documents for Minors

No one in South Carolina under the age of 16 can legally marry. If the bride or groom -- or both -- are between 16 and 18 years of age, they can marry with parental permission. When applying for a license, their father, mother, legally responsible relative or guardian must provide an affidavit, sworn before a notary, giving consent. Minors who want to marry must also provide proof of age in the form of a birth certificate, a hospital or a baptismal certificate issued and dated within a year of their birth. A certified copy is acceptable. If none of these certificates can be located and the applicant can persuade the judge they have made diligent efforts to find it, a parent or guardian can provide a legally sworn affidavit with sufficient documentation to prove age to the satisfaction of the judge or court officer.

Other Considerations

South Carolina does not require blood tests, health examinations or HIV/AIDS tests. If either party has been previously married and divorced or widowed, they don't have to provide documentary proof of that fact, such as divorce decrees or death certificates. Once the waiting period as specified by the court, but of no less than 24 hours, has been fulfilled, South Carolina marriage licenses do not expire but they can only be used in South Carolina. On a personal level, the couple may want to bring a friend or wedding attendant along to witness their application rather than a stranger or court official. The application for a license also includes application for the marriage certificate, which is issued within 15 days of the legal marriage taking place. Since this document includes the bride's married name, she should have a good idea of the name she will use when she applies for the license.

Tax Benefits

Couples who take a preparation for marriage course can receive a one-time-only, $50 state income tax credit. They must attend a course of at least six hours within 12 months of applying for their license. The course must be given by a licensed counselor or active member of the clergy and they must complete it together.

About the Author

Ellen Falconetti has written professionally since 1981. Her work has appeared in major newspapers in England and the U.S.A. as well as on a variety of websites and mobile media. Falconetti specializes in travel, lifestyle, telecoms and technology. She has Bachelor of Science in speech and journalism from Syracuse University and a master's degree in creative writing from a British university.

Photo Credits

  • getting married image by Bettina Baumgartner from Fotolia.com