In Washington, as in many states, a marriage certificate is a document that proves that two people were married in a certain place on a certain date. You don't have to fill it out at all. You just order it and pay for it, like a birth certificate. One Washington marriage document that does need to be filled out, however, is an application for a marriage license. Once you get the license from the county, you can go ahead and get married .
Washington Marriage Certificates
The Department of Health issues certified copies of vital records (or “certificates”) for births, deaths, marriages and divorces that took place in Washington. To get a certified copy of a marriage certificate, you need to identify yourself and the address to which you wish the certificate mailed. You also need to identify the marriage you are interested in, providing the names of both people, the county where the marriage took place and the approximate date.
Ordering a marriage certificate currently costs under $25. While you have to enter the particulars to identify the marriage for which you seek the certificate, you don't fill out the certificate itself. It arrives filled out and is proof of the marriage it details.
Washington Marriage Licenses
You do have to fill out an application for a marriage license if you want to tie the knot in Washington. This happens at the county level, and procedures, fees and rules differ. Your county auditor's office can provide the necessary information and the application form. Look on the county auditor's website or call the office to find out the details about marriage license procedures. Under Washington state law, you have to respect a three-day waiting period before a marriage license can be used. After that, the licenses are valid for 60 days.
How Do You Fill Out a Washington Marriage License?
It's not difficult to fill out a Washington marriage license, but you have to find out the exact procedures that apply in the county in which you want to be married. For example, an application for a marriage license in King County Washington costs under $100. You'll find it on the county website, both a fillable version and one you can download, print and fill out. It's not difficult. The information you and your soon-to-be-spouse need is basic: each party's name, date of birth, place of birth, address and marital status.
Once you've filled it out, both of you need to go to one of the Community Centers in King County to sign and submit it. Bring a photo idea and the fee. You won't need witnesses, blood tests, birth certificates if you are over 18 years of age or divorce papers. You'll be issued the license on the spot.
You can also get the application notarized and submit it by mail. In that case, though, you must pick it up from the Seattle office.
- Brides or grooms younger than 18 must have the consent of a legal guardian.
With a Master's in English, a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, and J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's law school, Teo Spengler is up on education. She splits her home time between San Francisco and France. A perpetual student and frequent teacher, she is also a writer and world traveler. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Arizona Central, Fairmont Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites.