The Town Clerk is responsible for issuing a New York State Marriage License to qualified applicants as well as recording the marriage with the New York State Department of Health. The marriage record is on file in this office and in Albany.The requirements for the issuance of marriage licenses in the Town of Hempstead are mandated by the provisions of the New York State Domestic Relations Laws.
Obtaining A Marriage License
A couple who intends to be married in New York State, regardless of the residence of either of the parties, may apply in person for a marriage license at the Town of Hempstead Town Clerk's Office. The application for a license must be signed by both parties to be married in the presence of a clerk. A representative cannot apply for the license on behalf of the marriage couple. This applies even if the representative has been given a Power of Attorney. Notarized marriage license affidavits signed by persons to be married cannot be substituted for their personal appearance.
To view a sample Marriage License and Certificate of Marriage, please click here.
Proof of Age and Identity
A person is required to establish proof of age and identity by submitting to the issuing clerk ONE of the following age-related documents (ALL AGE-RELATED DOCUMENTS MUST BE ORIGINAL. Foreign documents must be translated to English and certified.):
- Birth Certificate
- Baptismal Record
- Naturalization Record
- Census Record
AND ONE of the following identity-related documents (ALL IDENTITY-RELATED DOCUMENTS MUST BE ORIGINAL. All documents must be valid/un-expired.):
- Driver's License
- Employment Picture ID
- Immigration Record
Cost of a Marriage License
The marriage license fee is $40.00, which includes the issuance of a Certificate of Marriage Registration. This certificate is automatically sent to the applicants within 15 days after the completed license is returned by the officiant (the person who performs the marriage ceremony). It serves as notice that a record of the marriage is on file.
Payment may be made in cash or by local check or money order made payable to Hempstead Town Clerk.
If you wish to pay the marriage license fee using a credit card, a $6 credit card processing fee is charged for a total of $46.
Is There a Waiting Period?
Yes. Although the marriage license is issued immediately, the marriage ceremony may not take place within 24 hours from the exact time that the license was issued. When both applicants are 16 years of age or older, the 24-hour waiting period may be waived by an order of a Judge of the Nassau County Supreme Court or a Judge of the Nassau County Court. If either person is under 16 years of age, the order must be from a Nassau County Family Court Judge.
How Long is the License Valid?
A typical marriage license is valid for 60 days, beginning the day after it is issued. Military personnel on active duty, as well as other extreme circumstances, may qualify for an extension of time on the marriage license. Couples can acquire a waiver for the 24 hour waiting period. Please call (516) 812-3014 if you have questions concerning the license.
Is a Pre-Marital Physical Exam Required?
No pre-marital examination or blood test is required to obtain a marriage in New York State.
Where Can a Marriage Take Place?
A license issued by the Town of Hempstead Town Clerk's Office may only be used within New York State. Please note that if you intend to be married outside of New York State you should contact that state's Vital Records Office for its requirements.
What About the Ceremony?
There is no particular form or ceremony required except that the parties must state in the presence of an authorized member of the clergy or public official and at least one other witness that they take one another as a married couple. There is a minimum age of 18 to be a witness.
The Town Clerk's Office has a chapel available for small wedding ceremonies. Marriage ceremonies will be officiated by a Hempstead Town Marriage Officer by appointment only on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, from 10 AM to 3 PM, and on Thursday, from 10 AM to 6:45 PM. The fee the use of the chapel is $65. The chapel can only be booked after obtaining a New York State Marriage license. If the license was not issued by the Town of Hempstead marriage department, please come into our office with the original marriage license to schedule a ceremony.
Who Can Perform a Marriage Ceremony?
To be valid, a marriage ceremony must be performed by any of the individuals specified in Section 11 of the New York State Domestic Relations Law. These include:
- the mayor of a city or village;
- the former mayor, the city clerk or one of the deputy city clerks of a city of more than one million inhabitants;
- a marriage officer appointed by the town or village board or the city common council;
- a justice or judge of the following courts: the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern, Eastern or Western Districts of New York, the New York State Court of Appeals, the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court, the New York State Supreme Court, the Court of Claims, the Family Court, a Surrogates Court, the Civil and Criminal Courts of New York City (including Housing Judges of the Civil Court) and other courts of record;
- a village, town or county justice;
- a member of the clergy or minister who has been officially ordained and granted authority to perform marriage ceremonies from a governing church body in accordance with the rules and regulations of the church body;
- a member of the clergy or minister who is not authorized by a governing church body but who has been chosen by a spiritual group to preside over their spiritual affairs;
- other officiants as specified by Section 11 of the Domestic Relations Law.
A person performing a ceremony in New York City must be registered with the City of New York in order to perform a ceremony within the New York City limits. The officiant does not have to be a resident of New York State.
Ship captains are not authorized to perform marriage ceremonies in New York State. A ship must be docked if a certified official is performing a ceremony on a boat.
Information regarding previous marriages must be furnished in the application for a marriage license. Marriage license applicants whose previous marriage(s) ended in divorce, annulment or death of spouse, must provide proof of dissolution of all previous marriage(s) by presenting a certified copy of Decree of Divorce or a Certificate of Dissolution of Marriage filed with a court of competent jurisdiction or certified copy of Death Certificate for each previous marriage. This includes whether the former spouse or spouses are living and whether the applicants are divorced and, if so, when, where and against whom the divorce or divorces were granted. ALL RECORDS REGARDING PREVIOUS MARRIAGES MUST BE CERTIFIED. NO PHOTOCOPIES ALLOWED.
Where can I get copies of my records?
A certified copy of the marriage record may be obtained from the Town Clerk's Office. You may apply for a Marriage Transcript in person, by mail or by fax. Payment may be made by check or money orders payable to Hempstead Town Clerk or by credit card. Please click here to view the procedure for requesting a Marriage Transcript.
You may also obtain a certified copy of the marriage record from the New York State Department of Health; the fee is thirty dollars ($30).
Every person has the right to adopt any name by which he or she wishes to be known simply by using that name consistently and without intent to defraud. A person's last name (surname) does not automatically change upon marriage, and neither party to the marriage is required to change his or her last name. The parties need not take the same last name.
One or both parties to a marriage may elect to change the surname by which he or she wishes to be known after the marriage by entering the new name in the appropriate space provided on the marriage license. The new name must consist of one of the following options:
- the surname of the other spouse;
- any former surname of either spouse;
- a name combining into a single surname all or a segment of the pre-marriage surname or any former surname of each spouse;
- a combination name separated by a hyphen provided that each part of such combination surname is the pre-marriage surname, or any former surname, of each of the spouses.
The use of this option will provide a record of your change of name. The marriage certificate, containing the new name, if any, is proof that the use of the new name, or the retention of the former name, is lawful. The local Social Security Administration office should be contacted so that its records and your social security identification card reflect the name change. There is no charge for this service.
Whether you decide to use or not use this option at the time of your marriage license application, you still have the right to adopt a different name through usage at some future date. However, your marriage license cannot be changed to record a surname you decide to use after your marriage.
If you plan to use your married name at work, be sure to have your Social Security records updated to reflect your change of surname, avoiding complications in payroll. It's easy and it's absolutely free. To do so contact any Social Security office. You will need documentary evidence showing both your old name and your new name.
Once you obtain a marriage license from our office, we will provide you with the paperwork required to change your name on your driver's license.
What are the age and consent requirements for minors?
If either applicant is under 14 years of age, a marriage license cannot be issued.
If either applicant is 14 or 15 years of age, such applicant(s) must present the written consent of both parents and a Judge of the Nassau County Supreme Court or a Judge of the Nassau County Family Court.
If either applicant is 16 or 17 years of age, such applicant(s) must present the written consent of both parents.
If both applicants are 18 years of age or older, no consents are required.
One parent alone may consent to a minor's marriage if:
- The other parent has been missing for one year preceding the application;
- The parents are divorced and the consenting parent was given sole custody of the child when the divorce decree was awarded;
- The other parent has been judged incompetent, or the other parent is deceased.
- Parents, guardians or other people consenting to the marriage of a minor must personally appear and acknowledge or execute their consent before the clerk or some other authorized official. If the notarized affidavit is made before an official outside of the State of New York, it must be accompanied by a certificate of authentication when the consent is filed in New York State.
A marriage may not take place in New York State between an ancestor and descendant, siblings (full or half blood), an uncle and niece, an uncle and nephew, an aunt and nephew or an aunt and niece, regardless of whether or not these persons are legitimate or illegitimate offspring.
Searches of Marriage Records for genealogical purposes are also performed by the Town Clerk's office. Marriage searches must be for marriages older than 50 years. Fee varies depending on the requested number of years to be searched. Please click here to read more.