State Is Considering Waiving Waiting Period for Marriage Licenses

The wait may soon be over for couples seeking to marry in New Jersey as the State Assembly considers a proposal to allow for same-day issuance of marriage licenses. (1)

Some requirements for marriage licenses can vary by municipality (2), so if you have questions regarding laws governing marriages in Hunterdon County, the family lawyers at The Rotolo Law Firm can help. Basically, however, there is currently a three-day or 72-hour waiting period for marriage license applications in New Jersey. Originally, this waiting period was intended to make sure couples gave sufficient thought to what is supposed to be a lifetime commitment. (3)

Two Democratic representatives, Sen. Nicholas Scutari of Union and Assemblyman Lou Greenwald of Camden, last month proposed a bill that would eliminate this waiting period.(4) That proposal was approved this week by the Assembly Budget Committee and now awaits a vote by the full Assembly expected this Monday. However, a plan currently in committee has not yet been approved by the Senate. If that plan does not gain approval by Monday, efforts will have to start all over again. (5)

Proponents for the change say that abolishing this waiting period can bring a boost to the State’s tourist trade as well as its wedding industry by giving New Jersey an edge over neighboring states. (There is currently a 24-hour waiting period in both New York and Delaware and a 3-day waiting period in Pennsylvania.) These supporters claim that the waiting period makes it difficult for vacationers to plan destination weddings in New Jersey. They also profess the change could make Atlantic City more like Las Vegas, a town known almost as much for its wedding chapels as for its casinos.(4) Opponents, however, question whether so-called “drive-by” weddings are the best way to bring in revenue and create jobs, asserting that a cut in both taxes and spending would be more beneficial to the State’s economy. (5)

Under current New Jersey law, couples are required to apply for a marriage license in the municipality in which the bride-to-be lives. If she is not a resident, the couple must apply in the groom’s hometown. If neither are residents, application is to be made in the municipality where the ceremony is to take place. (2)

The proposed change would allow visitors to apply for a State marriage license as well as allow residents to apply in the municipality where the ceremony will be held rather than in their hometown. (4)

If the change is adopted, it would bring New Jersey in line with 29 other states that have no waiting period. Connecticut and Rhode Island are the only other northeastern states without a marriage license waiting period. (1)

For advice regarding marriage laws in New Jersey, specifically in Hunterdon County, contact the family law attorneys at The Rotolo Law Firm, located in Lebanon.






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