New Jersey Wedding Laws

How to Officiate a Wedding in New Jersey

New Jersey wedding law is simple enough that it makes officiating a wedding in the state a relatively straightforward process. That said, certain counties have more stringent guidelines than others and it is important that any minister carefully research the guidelines for the specific area where the ceremony is set to take place well before the special day.

How to Become an Ordained Minister in New Jersey

In New Jersey any judge, any mayor, any county clerk, and any minister from any religious group is authorized to solemnize marriage ceremonies. This wide net of authorized individuals captures those ministers who are ordained online with the Universal Life Church Monastery. However, some counties may require that you apply for a minister license or present to the county clerk proof of your ordination, which the ULC Monastery will happily provide in the form of a Letter of Good Standing.

How to Perform a Wedding Ceremony in New Jersey

There are no specific guidelines in New Jersey law dictating which format the wedding ceremony must take. The Universal Life Church Monastery offers a wide variety of training tools for ordained ministers to use in the planning and officiating of a wedding ceremony. New or curious ministers might consider researching how to perform different ceremonies in the Baker's Wedding Handbook that the ULC Monastery offers.

Marriage Paperwork Required in New Jersey

Depending on which New Jersey county the marriage is being registered in, there may be different documents required for minister licensing (as noted above). The couple should apply for their marriage license within 30 days of the ceremony in the county in which the bride resides. At least one witness over the age of 18 is required to acquire a marriage license. It is important to note that you may need more than one marriage license if you are going to have two ceremonies (i.e. a civil ceremony and a religious ceremony or two religious ceremonies).

New Jersey Marriage Laws

 

37:1-13 Authorization to solemnize marriages 37:1-13. Each judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, each judge of a federal district court, United States magistrate, judge of a municipal court, judge of the Superior Court, judge of a tax court, retired judge of the Superior Court or Tax Court, or judge of the Superior Court or Tax Court, the former County Court, the former County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, or the former County District Court who has resigned in good standing, surrogate of any county, county clerk and any mayor or the deputy mayor when authorized by the mayor, or chairman of any township committee or village president of this State, and every minister of every religion, are hereby authorized to solemnize marriage between such persons as may lawfully enter into the matrimonial relation; and every religious society, institution or organization in this State may join together in marriage such persons according to the rules and customs of the society, institution or organization.

New Jersey marriage laws are governed by New Jersey Permanent Statute 31. Many of the requirements of New Jersey's wedding laws are similar to other states. In order to obtain a marriage license, you must have appropriate identification such as certified copies of birth certificates, passports or drivers' licenses. United States citizens will also need to furnish their Social Security numbers. If you are under the age of eighteen, you must have your parent's consent to the marriage in front of two witnesses. If you are under the age of sixteen, judicial consent is necessary. The fee for a marriage license is $28.

If you have been previously married, you must supply the county clerk with a copy of your divorce decree if it has been finalized in the last thirty days, or a copy of the death certificate of your former spouse if your spouse passed away in the last thirty days. The wedding officiant will be required to furnish his or her ordination papers to the county clerk as well as his or her current contact information. Covenant marriages and proxy marriages are not permitted according to New Jersey wedding laws though marriages between first cousins are permitted. The ULC Monastery strongly advises that its ministers check with the local county clerk where you intend to perform a marriage ceremony for any county-specific requirements.

There is no residency requirement to marry in New Jersey for the bride, groom or an online ordained minister; ULC Monastery ministers from outside New Jersey are thus free to perform ceremonies there. However, if either the bride or groom is a resident of New Jersey, the couple should obtain a marriage license in the county where the bride lives. If the bride is not a resident, according to New Jersey wedding laws the couple must apply for a marriage license in the county where the groom lives. If neither are residents of the state, obtaining a marriage license from the county clerk where the ceremony will be held is acceptable. Military personnel are considered to be residents in the county where they are posted. After the wedding license is issued, there is a three day waiting period. Re-marriages or renewal of vows are exempt from the three day waiting period.

New Jersey Permanent Statutes 37:1-13 governs the legal authorization to solemnize marriages and civil unions. The following is an a partial rendition of this statute as it pertains to wedding officiants: "Judges of a Federal District Court, United States magistrates, Judges of a Municipal Court, Judges of the Superior Court, Judges of a Tax Court, Retired judges of the Superior Court, Judge or the Superior or Tax Court who has resigned in good standing, any Mayor/Deputy Mayor or Chairman of any Township Committee, Village President of New Jersey, County Clerks, and every minister of every religion." Notice that any ordained minister of "every" religion may officiate weddings according to New Jersey laws; the Universal Life Church is thus shoe-horned into being legally recognized in New Jersey as a result. Wedding officiants must send marriage certificates to the New Jersey Department for Public Health in Trenton, New Jersey within thirty days of the ceremony.

New Jersey was one of the first states to legalize gay marriage in the form of domestic partnerships. Domestic partnerships give same-sex couples many of the same rights as heterosexual couples.

The Domestic Partnership Act was enacted in January of 2004 by the New Jersey Legislature. It provides inheritance, property rights and limited healthcare benefits between same-sex couples or couples who are sixty-two years old or older and living together as domestic partners. The two partners must document shared financial obligations by furnishing proof of a joint deed, mortgage, bank account or life insurance policy to the county clerk.

Gay Marriage and Same Sex Wedding Laws:

This state currently has legal same-sex marriage by Court Decision.

The Monastery Ordination Credential

To perform a marriage in New Jersey you need to be ordained and may be required to provide proof of ordination such as an ordination credential, wallet credential, or a letter of good standing from the church.

Read the full Law on the official site »

New Jersey Wedding Laws by County

Atlantic County

5901 Main Street
Mays Landing, New Jersey
08330,
Phone: (609) 641-7867
alternate phone: (609) 625-4011
Fax: (609) 909-5111
E-mail: mcgettigan_ed@aclink.org
Atlantic County website »

Bergen County

One Bergen County Plaza
Hackensack, New Jersey
07601,

Phone: (201) 336-7000
Bergen County website »

Burlington County

49 Rancocas Road
PO Box 6000
Mount Holly, New Jersey
08060,
Phone: (609) 265-5122
Fmx: (609) 265-0696
E-mail: ttyler@co.burlington.nj.us
Burlington County website »

Camden County

101 South 5th Street
Suite 150
Camden, New Jersey
08103,
Phone: (856) 225-5300
Fmx: (856) 225-7100
E-mail: countyclerk@camdencounty.com
Camden County website »

Cape May County

City Hall
643 Washington Street
Cape May, New Jersey
08204,

Cape May County website »

Cumberland County

60 West Broad Street
Bridgeton, New Jersey
08302,
Phone: (856) 453-4860
Fax: (856) 455-1410
Cumberland County website »

Essex County

P.O. Box 690
Newark, New Jersey
07101,
Phone: (973) 621-4921
E-mail: info@essexclerk.com
Essex County website »

Gloucester County

P.O. Box 129
Woodbury, New Jersey
08096,

Phone: (856) 853-3237
Fmx: (856) 853-3327
E-mail: kseder@co.gloucester.nj.us
Gloucester County website »

Hudson County

257 Cornelison Avenue
Jersey City, New Jersey
07302,
Phone: (201) 369-3470
Fax: (201) 369-3478
E-mail: countyclerk@hcnj.us
Hudson County website »

Hunterdon County

71 Main Street
PO BOX 2900
Flemington, New Jersey
08822,
Phone: (908) 788-1214
alternate phone: (908) 788-1221
Fax: (908) 782-4068
Hunterdon County website »

Mercer County

209 South Broad St.
Room 100
Trenton, New Jersey
08650,

Phone: (609) 989-6464
Fmx: (609) 989-1111
E-mail: countyclerk@co.middlesex.nj.us
Mercer County website »

Middlesex County

P.O. Box 1110
New Brunswick, New Jersey
08903,
 
Phone: (732) 745-3005
Middlesex County website »

Monmouth County

33 Mechanic Street
Freehold, New Jersey
07728,
Phone: (732) 431-7324
Monmouth County website »

Morris County

P.O. Box 315
Morristown, New Jersey
07963,

Phone: (973) 829-8219
E-mail: jbramhall@co.morris.nj.us
Morris County website »

Ocean County

P.O. Box 2191
Toms River, New Jersey
08754,
 
Phone: (732) 929-2018
Fmx: (732) 349-4336
E-mail: cblock@co.ocean.nj.us
Ocean County website »

Passaic County

401 Grand Street
Paterson, New Jersey
07505,
Phone: (973) 225-3632
Fax: (973) 754-1920
E-mail: kcorrado@passaiccountynj.org
Passaic County website »

Salem County

92 Market Street
P.O. Box 18
Salem, New Jersey
08079,

Phone: (856) 935-7510
alternate phone: ext. 8605
Fmx: (856) 358-3857
Salem County website »

Somerset County

20 Grove Street
P.O. Box 3000
Somerville, New Jersey
08876,
Phone: (908) 231-7006
Fmx: (908) 253-8853
E-mail: CountyClerk@co.somerset.nj.us
Somerset County website »

Sussex County

83 Spring St.
Suite 304
Newton, New Jersey
07860,

Phone: (973) 579-0900
Fmx: (973) 383-7493
E-mail: scclerk@nac.net
Sussex County website »

Union County

2 Broad Street
P.O. Box 6073
Elizabeth, New Jersey
07207,
 
Phone: (908) 527-4787
E-mail: jrajoppi@ucnj.org
Union County website »

Warren County

413 Second Street
Belvidere, New Jersey
07823,
 
Phone: (908) 475-6211
Fmx: (908) 475-6208
Warren County website »