Take 1 Handouts
FOR UNMARRIED COUPLES
1. Q. WHAT IS THE LEGAL AGE FOR MARRIAGE IN NORTH CAROLINA?
A. While laws in different states vary, the law in North Carolina required generally the parties be at least eighteen (18) years of age.
2. Q. WHEN IS CONSENT OF A PARENT NECESSARY?
A. A couple may marry if one or both are between sixteen (16) and eighteen (18) with parental consent.
3. Q. DOES NORTH CAROLINA RECOGNIZE COMMON LAW MARRIAGE?
A. Common law marriage, which is recognized in some states, involves a couple living together and holding themselves out to everyone as man and wife. Even though there is no marriage ceremony or certificate, this marriage is considered valid in those states that recognize common law marriage. North Carolina is not one of those states, and no amount of living together in this state can result in a valid marriage, without a valid marriage ceremony.
4. Q. OTHER THAN AGE, WHAT DOES THE LAW REQUIRE FOR MARRIAGE IN NORTH CAROLINA?
A. First, the parties must both be unmarried and no closer than first cousins to each other. Next, they must obtain a marriage license from the Register of Deeds in the county where the marriage is to take place. There is no waiting period and the license is good for sixty days (60) after it is issued.
5. Q. ARE THERE ANY MEDICAL REQUIREMENTS FOR A MARRIAGE LICENSE?
A. Prior to 1 October 1994 the man and woman must obtain a doctor's certificate showing that they are mentally competent and free from venereal disease and infectious tuberculosis. Further information is available about these certificates from the Register of Deeds at the county courthouse. After 1 October 1994 health certificates for the issuance of marriage licenses will no longer be required.
6. Q. WHAT IF I HAVE OTHER QUESTIONS OR SPECIFIC PROBLEMS I WANT HELP IN SOLVING?
A. See a legal assistance attorney or private attorney. Seeing a lawyer early may not only solve a problem you have; it may also resolve or avoid a problem in the future, on this or other unrelated subjects. Our legal assistance office stands ready willing and able to help you in these matters.
(Rev. 6/99)* * *
THE NORTH CAROLINA STATE BAR
217 E. Edenton Street • PO Box 25908 • Raleigh, NC 27611-5908 • 919.828.4620
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