New Jersey Marriage Laws

New Jersey has some specific aspects of its marriage laws that might give prospective couples pause. That's why the Universal Life Church Ministries has constructed the following guide, plainly marking any potential pitfalls and and linking the relevant legal excerpts you should be aware of. Consulting the information below should make the entire process of planning a legally binding wedding a little easier – and ensure anyone looking to get hitched in the Garden State can do so without issue.

Wedding Ceremony Requirements

Marriage By Proxy Allowed:
No
Minister Required to be Present:
Yes

While couples are free to plan the wedding ceremony as they see fit, and in keeping with their religious traditions, spiritual needs or unique embellishments, both members must be physically present for the ceremony and, at some point in it, formally consent to taking the other as husband or wife before at least two witnesses and the minister, who will ultimately pronounce them married and thereby solemnize the marriage.

Requirements for the Couple

Min. Age of Couple:
Age 18
Residency:
Not Required
Min. Distance of Kin Allowed:
First Cousins
Marriage Equality:
Yes

New Jersey is one of the few US states in which marriages between any two persons less than 18 years old will not be tolerated in any circumstance.

It is also forbidden to marry an ancestor or dependent, sibling, aunt or uncle and niece or nephew, whether that kin be of the whole or half blood. Nothing closer than a marriage between first cousins will be sanctioned.

Same-sex and out-of state couples are permitted to marry in New Jersey. Please note that non-residents can only apply for a license in the municipality or county where the proposed wedding will take place.

Requirements for the Minister

Min. Age of Minister:
Age 18
Residency:
Not Required
Document(s) Required:
Varies by County
Online Ordination Recognized:
Yes
Relevant Office of Registration:
Local Registrar
Latest Document(s) Submission Date Allowed:
Varies by County
Minister I.D. # Issued:
No

The state of New Jersey recognizes a wide array of civil and religious officers authorized to solemnize a wedding, from federal and municipal judges and magistrates to county mayors and clerks and village presidents, as well as every member of the clergy of every religion, provided they are at least 18 years old.

Ministers ordained by the Universal Life Church fall into the latter category, legally recognized as religious actors regardless of their chosen gender or personal beliefs. That being said, they still may be asked to produce relevant ordination credentials once the license is returned to the state registrar. To that end, ULC ministers in New Jersey have reported that the Classic Wedding Package includes all the necessary documentation to show sufficient proof.

Marriage License Facts

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Religious
Mandatory Waiting Period:
72 Hours
License Valid For:
30 Days
License Must Be Submitted:
Within 5 Days of Ceremony

Once the application has been received, licensing officers must wait at least 72 hours before issuing the marriage license, unless that mandatory waiting period has been waived by the Superior Court and attached to the original application. Once issued, the license will be valid for 30 days, and contain the name, age, parentage, birthplace, residence, Social Security number and domestic status of each party – whether single, widowed or divorced – along with the names and birth place of their parents.

The minister must return the marriage license and certificate to the same state registrar in which the ceremony took place within 5 days of the completed ceremony.

Marriage License Requirements

Min. Age of Witnesses:
None
Couple's Consent Required:
Yes
Pronouncement Required:
Yes

Persons set on a New Jersey wedding must fill out the necessary marriage license application and present themselves before either a city clerk or state registrar, depending on the county. If one member of the couple cannot be present, an attorney-in-fact must stand in for them. Non-residents must apply in the municipality where the wedding will take place, and any license issued will only be valid there.

Photo ID must be presented to verify age and other vital information, although no divorce documents or blood tests will be required in the process. It costs $28 to apply.

All couples must be accompanied by one adult witness when picking up a license.

Once granted, it is the couple’s responsibility to ensure the marriage license is delivered to the minister of the religious society, institution or organization or civil official designated to perform their wedding ceremony.

Final Steps

Officiant's Title on Marriage License:
Minister
Church/Ordaining Body:
Universal Life Church Ministries
Address of Church:
Minister's Home Address

Once the ceremony is done, the minister must personally ensure that all relevant sections of the marriage license are filled out by the couple, and include the signature and place of residence of at least two witnesses present.

The minister must also make sure to include their own information, marking their name, title, ordaining body (Universal Life Church) and their home address, if asked to provide an address of minsitry. Once the forms have been completed, they must be returned to the office which issued them no later than 5 days after the ceremony.