North Carolina Family Law Statutes
§ 51-1. Requisites of marriage; solemnization.
A valid and sufficient marriage is created by the consent of a
male and female person who may lawfully marry, presently to take
each other as husband and wife, freely, seriously and plainly
expressed by each in the presence of the other, either:
(1) a. In the presence of an ordained
minister of any religious denomination, a minister authorized by a
church, or a magistrate; and
b. With the consequent declaration by the minister or magistrate
that the persons are husband and wife; or
(2) In accordance with any mode of solemnization recognized by any
religious denomination, or federally or State recognized Indian
Nation or Tribe.
Marriages solemnized before March 9, 1909, by ministers of the
gospel licensed, but not ordained, are validated from their
consummation. (1871-2, c. 193, s. 3; Code, s. 1812; Rev., s. 2081;
1908, c. 47; 1909, c. 704, s. 2; c. 897; C.S., s. 2493; 1945, c.
839; 1965, c. 152; 1971, c. 1185, s. 26; 1977, c. 592, s. 1;
2000-58, ss. 1, 2; 2001-14, ss. 1, 2; 2001-62, ss. 1, 17;
2002-115, ss. 5, 6; 2002-159, s. 13(a); 2003-4, s. 1; 2005-56, s.
§ 51-1.1. Certain marriages performed by ministers of
Universal Life Church validated.
Any marriages performed by ministers of the Universal Life
Church prior to July 3, 1981, are validated, unless they have been
invalidated by a court of competent jurisdiction, provided that
all other requirements of law have been met and the marriages
would have been valid if performed by an official authorized by
law to perform wedding ceremonies. (1981, c. 797.)
§ 51-1.2. Marriages between persons of the same gender not
Marriages, whether created by common law, contracted, or
performed outside of North Carolina, between individuals of the
same gender are not valid in North Carolina. (1995 (Reg. Sess.,
1996), c. 588, s. 1.)
§ 51-2. Capacity to marry.
(a) All unmarried persons of 18 years, or older, may lawfully
marry, except as hereinafter forbidden.
(a1) Persons over 16 years of age and under 18 years of age may
marry, and the register of deeds may issue a license for the
marriage, only after there shall have been filed with the register
of deeds a written consent to the marriage, said consent having
been signed by the appropriate person as follows:
(1) By a parent having full or joint
legal custody of the underage party; or
(2) By a person, agency, or institution having legal custody or
serving as a guardian of the underage party.
Such written consent shall not be required for an emancipated
minor if a certificate of emancipation issued pursuant to Article
35 of Chapter 7B of the General Statutes or a certified copy of a
final decree or certificate of emancipation from this or any other
jurisdiction is filed with the register of deeds.
(b) Persons over 14 years of age and under 16 years of age may
marry as provided in G.S. 51-2.1.
(b1) It shall be unlawful for any person under 14 years of age to
(c) When a license to marry is procured by any person under 18
years of age by fraud or misrepresentation, a parent of the
underage party, a person, agency, or institution having legal
custody or serving as a guardian of the underage party, or a
guardian ad litem appointed to represent the underage party
pursuant to G.S. 51-2.1(b) is a proper party to bring an action to
annul the marriage. (R.C., c. 68, s. 14; 1871-2, c. 193; Code, s.
1809; Rev., s. 2082; C.S., s. 2494; 1923, c. 75; 1933, c. 269, s.
1; 1939, c. 375; 1947, c. 383, s. 2; 1961, c. 186; 1967, c. 957,
s. 1; 1969, c. 982; 1985, c. 608; 1998-202, s. 13(s); 2001-62, s.
2; 2001-487, s. 60.)
§ 51-2.1. Marriage of certain underage parties.
(a) If an unmarried female who is more than 14 years of age,
but less than 16 years of age, is pregnant or has given birth to a
child and the unmarried female and the putative father of the
child, either born or unborn, agree to marry, or if an unmarried
male who is more than 14 years of age, but less than 16 years of
age, is the putative father of a child, either born or unborn, and
the unmarried male and the mother of the child agree to marry, the
register of deeds is authorized to issue to the parties a license
to marry; and it shall be lawful for them to marry in accordance
with the provisions of this Chapter, only after a certified copy
of an order issued by a district court authorizing the marriage is
filed with the register of deeds. A district court judge may issue
an order authorizing a marriage under this section only upon
finding as fact and concluding as a matter of law that the
underage party is capable of assuming the responsibilities of
marriage and the marriage will serve the best interest of the
underage party. In determining whether the marriage will serve the
best interest of an underage party, the district court shall
consider the following:
(1) The opinion of the parents of the
underage party as to whether the marriage serves the best interest
of the underage party.
(2) The opinion of any person, agency, or institution having legal
custody or serving as a guardian of the underage party as to
whether the marriage serves the best interest of the underage
(3) The opinion of the guardian ad litem appointed to represent
the best interest of the underage party pursuant to G.S. 51-2.1(b)
as to whether the marriage serves the best interest of the
(4) The relationship between the underage party and the parents of
the underage party, as well as the relationship between the
underage party and any person having legal custody or serving as a
guardian of the underage party.
(5) Any evidence that it would find useful in making its
There shall be a rebuttable presumption that the marriage will
not serve the best interest of the underage party when all living
parents of the underage party oppose the marriage. The fact that
the female is pregnant, or has given birth to a child, alone does
not establish that the best interest of the underage party will be
served by the marriage.
(b) An underage party seeking an order granting judicial
authorization to marry pursuant to this section shall file a civil
action in the district court requesting judicial authorization to
marry. The clerk shall collect court costs from the underage party
in the amount set forth in G.S. 7A-305 for civil actions in
district court. Upon the filing of the complaint, summons shall be
issued in accordance with G.S. 1A-1, Rule 4, and the underage
party shall be appointed a guardian ad litem in accordance with
the provisions of G.S. 1A-1, Rule 17. The guardian ad litem
appointed shall be an attorney and shall be governed by the
provisions of subsection (d) of this section. The underage party
shall serve a copy of the summons and complaint, in accordance
with G.S. 1A-1, Rule 4, on the father of the underage party; the
mother of the underage party; and any person, agency, or
institution having legal custody or serving as a guardian of the
underage party. The underage party also shall serve a copy of the
complaint, either in accordance with G.S. 1A-1, Rule 4, or G.S.
1A-1, Rule 5, on the guardian ad litem appointed pursuant to this
section. A party responding to the underage party's complaint
shall serve his response within 30 days after service of the
summons and complaint upon that person. The underage party may
participate in the proceedings before the court on his or her own
behalf. At the hearing conducted pursuant to this section, the
court shall consider evidence, as provided in subsection (a) of
this section, and shall make written findings of fact and
conclusions of law.
(c) Any party to a proceeding under this section may be
represented by counsel, but no party is entitled to appointed
counsel, except as provided in this section.
(d) The guardian ad litem appointed pursuant to subsection (b) of
this section shall represent the best interest of the underage
party in all proceedings under this section and also has standing
to institute an action under G.S. 51-2(c). The appointment shall
terminate when the last judicial ruling rendering the
authorization granted or denied is entered. Payment of the
guardian ad litem shall be governed by G.S. 7A- 451(f). The
guardian ad litem shall make an investigation to determine the
facts, the needs of the underage party, the available resources
within the family and community to meet those needs, the impact of
the marriage on the underage party, and the ability of the
underage party to assume the responsibilities of marriage;
facilitate, when appropriate, the settlement of disputed issues;
offer evidence and examine witnesses at the hearing; and protect
and promote the best interest of the underage party. In fulfilling
the guardian ad litem's duties, the guardian ad litem shall assess
and consider the emotional development, maturity, intellect, and
understanding of the underage party. The guardian ad litem has the
authority to obtain any information or reports, whether or not
confidential, that the guardian ad litem deems relevant to the
case. No privilege other than attorney-client privilege may be
invoked to prevent the guardian ad litem and the court from
obtaining such information. The confidentiality of the information
or reports shall be respected by the guardian ad litem, and no
disclosure of any information or reports shall be made to anyone
except by order of the court or unless otherwise provided by law.
(e) If the last judicial ruling in this proceeding denies the
underage party judicial authorization to marry, the underage party
shall not seek the authorization of any court again under this
section until after one year from the date of the entry of the
last judicial ruling rendering the authorization denied.
(f) Except as otherwise provided in this section, the rules of
evidence in civil cases shall apply to proceedings under this
section. All hearings pursuant to this section shall be recorded
by stenographic notes or by electronic or mechanical means.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no appeal of right
lies from an order or judgment entered pursuant to this section.
(2001-62, s. 3.)
§ 51-2.2. Parent includes adoptive parent.
As used in this Article, the terms "parent",
"father", or "mother" includes one who has
become a parent, father, or mother, respectively, by adoption.
(2001-62, s. 4.)
§ 51-3. Want of capacity; void and voidable marriages.
All marriages between any two persons nearer of kin than first
cousins, or between double first cousins, or between a male person
under 16 years of age and any female, or between a female person
under 16 years of age and any male, or between persons either of
whom has a husband or wife living at the time of such marriage, or
between persons either of whom is at the time physically impotent,
or between persons either of whom is at the time incapable of
contracting from want of will or understanding, shall be void. No
marriage followed by cohabitation and the birth of issue shall be
declared void after the death of either of the parties for any of
the causes stated in this section except for bigamy. No marriage
by persons either of whom may be under 16 years of age, and
otherwise competent to marry, shall be declared void when the girl
shall be pregnant, or when a child shall have been born to the
parties unless such child at the time of the action to annul shall
be dead. A marriage contracted under a representation and belief
that the female partner to the marriage is pregnant, followed by
the separation of the parties within 45 days of the marriage which
separation has been continuous for a period of one year, shall be
voidable unless a child shall have been born to the parties within
10 lunar months of the date of separation. (R.C., c. 68, ss. 7, 8,
9; 1871-2, c. 193, s. 2; Code, s. 1810; 1887, c. 245; Rev., s.
2083; 1911, c. 215, s. 2; 1913, c. 123; 1917, c. 135; C.S., s.
2495; 1947, c. 383, s. 3; 1949, c. 1022; 1953, c. 1105; 1961, c.
367; 1977, c. 107, s. 1.)
§ 51-3.1. Interracial marriages validated.
All interracial marriages that were declared void by statute
or a court of competent jurisdiction prior to March 24, 1977, are
hereby validated. The parties to such interracial marriages are
deemed to be lawfully married, provided that the provisions of
this Chapter have been complied with. (1977, c. 107, s. 2.)
§ 51-3.2. Marriage licensed and solemnized by a federally
recognized Indian Nation or Tribe.
(a) Subject to the restriction provided in subsection (b), a
marriage between a man and a woman licensed and solemnized
according to the law of a federally recognized Indian Nation or
Tribe shall be valid and the parties to the marriage shall be
(b) When the law of a federally recognized Indian Nation or Tribe
allows persons to obtain a marriage license from the register of
deeds and the parties to a marriage do so, Chapter 51 of the
General Statutes shall apply and the marriage shall be valid only
if the issuance of the license and the solemnization of the
marriage is conducted in compliance with this Chapter. (2001-62,
§ 51-4. Prohibited degrees of kinship.
When the degree of kinship is estimated with a view to
ascertain the right of kinspeople to marry, the half-blood shall
be counted as the whole-blood: Provided, that nothing herein
contained shall be so construed as to invalidate any marriage
heretofore contracted in case where by counting the half-blood as
the whole-blood the persons contracting such marriage would be
nearer of kin than first cousins; but in every such case the
kinship shall be ascertained by counting relations of the
half-blood as being only half so near kin as those of the same
degree of the whole-blood (1879, c. 78; Code, s. 1811; Rev., s.
2084; C.S., s. 2496.)
§ 51-5. Marriages between slaves validated.
Persons, both or one of whom were formerly slaves, who have
complied with the provisions of section five, Chapter 40, of the
acts of the General Assembly, ratified March 10, 1866, shall be
deemed to have been lawfully married. (1866, c. 40, s. 5; Code, s.
1842; Rev., s. 2085; C.S., s. 2497.)
§ 51-6. Solemnization without license unlawful.
No minister, officer, or any other person authorized to solemnize
a marriage under the laws of this State shall perform a ceremony
of marriage between a man and woman, or shall declare them to be
husband and wife, until there is delivered to that person a
license for the marriage of the said persons, signed by the
register of deeds of the county in which the marriage license was
issued or by a lawful deputy or assistant. There must be at least
two witnesses to the marriage ceremony.
Whenever a man and woman have been lawfully married in accordance
with the laws of the state in which the marriage ceremony took
place, and said marriage was performed by a magistrate or some
other civil official duly authorized to perform such ceremony, and
the parties thereafter wish to confirm their marriage vows before
an ordained minister or minister authorized by a church, or in a
ceremony recognized by any religious denomination, federally or
State recognized Indian Nation or Tribe, nothing herein shall be
deemed to prohibit such confirmation ceremony; provided, however,
that such confirmation ceremony shall not be deemed in law to be a
marriage ceremony, such confirmation ceremony shall in no way
affect the validity or invalidity of the prior marriage ceremony
performed by a civil official, no license for such confirmation
ceremony shall be issued by a register of deeds, and no record of
such confirmation ceremony may be kept by a register of deeds.
(1871-2, c. 193, s. 4; Code, s. 1813; Rev., s. 2086; C.S., s.
2498; 1957, c. 1261; 1959, c. 338; 1967, c. 957, ss. 6, 9; 1977,
c. 592, s. 2; 2001-62, s. 6.)
§ 51-7. Penalty for solemnizing without license.
Every minister, officer, or any other person authorized to
solemnize a marriage under the laws of this State, who marries any
couple without a license being first delivered to that person, as
required by law, or after the expiration of such license, or who
fails to return such license to the register of deeds within 10
days after any marriage celebrated by virtue thereof, with the
certificate appended thereto duly filled up and signed, shall
forfeit and pay two hundred dollars ($200.00) to any person who
sues therefore, and shall also be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
(R.C., c. 68, ss. 6, 13; 1871-2, c. 193, s. 8; Code, s. 1817;
Rev., ss. 2087, 3372; C.S., s. 2499; 1953, c. 638, s. 1; 1967, c.
957, s. 5; 1993, c. 539, s. 415; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c);
2001-62, s. 7.)
§ 51-8. License issued by register of deeds.
Every register of deeds shall, upon proper application, issue a
license for the marriage of any two persons who are able to answer
the questions regarding age, marital status, and intention to
marry, and, based on the answers, the register of deeds determines
the persons are authorized to be married in accordance with the
laws of this State. In making a determination as to whether or not
the parties are authorized to be married under the laws of this
State, the register of deeds may require the applicants for the
license to marry to present certified copies of birth certificates
or such other evidence as the register of deeds deems necessary to
the determination. The register of deeds may administer an oath to
any person presenting evidence relating to whether or not parties
applying for a marriage license are eligible to be married
pursuant to the laws of this State. Each applicant for a marriage
license shall provide on the application the applicant's social
security number. If an applicant does not have a social security
number and is ineligible to obtain one, the applicant shall
present a statement to that effect, sworn to or affirmed before an
officer authorized to administer oaths. Upon presentation of a
sworn or affirmed statement, the register of deeds shall issue the
license, provided all other requirements are met, and retain the
statement with the register's copy of the license. The register of
deeds shall not issue a marriage license unless all of the
requirements of this section have been met. (1871-2, c. 193, s. 5;
Code, s. 1814; 1887, c. 331; Rev., s. 2088; C.S., s. 2500; 1957,
c. 506, s. 1; 1967, c. 957, s. 2; 1997-433, s. 4.5; 1998-17, s. 1;
1999-375, s. 1; 2001-62, s. 8; 2002-159, s. 14.)
§ 51-8.1. Repealed by Session Laws 1967, c. 53.
§ 51-8.2. Issuance of marriage license when applicant is
unable to appear.
If an applicant for a marriage license is over 18 years of age
and is unable to appear in person at the register of deeds'
office, the other party to the planned marriage must appear in
person on behalf of the applicant and submit a sworn and notarized
affidavit in lieu of the absent applicant's personal appearance.
The affidavit shall be in the following or some equivalent form:
__________, [applicant] appearing before the undersigned notary
and being duly sworn, says that:
1. I, __________, [applicant's name] am applying for a license in
_______ County, North Carolina, to marry _______ [name of other
applicant] in North Carolina within the next 60 days and I am
authorized under G.S. 51-8.2 to complete this Affidavit in Lieu of
Personal Appearance for Marriage License Application.
I attach: (1) documentation that I am over 18 years of age as
required in county of issuance; and (2) documentation of divorce
as required by county of issuance.
2. I submit the following information in applying for a marriage
Inside City Limits (Yes or No):
& State or Country
Birth Date: ______________ Age: ____
(if living) or Deceased
(if living) or Deceased
Race (Optional): ________________________________________________
Number of this marriage: 1st, 2nd, etc.
Last Marriage Ended by: __________________________________________
Death, Divorce, Annulment
Date Marriage Ended: ____________________________________________
Specify Highest Grade Completed in School (Optional):
Social Security # ______________ (If applicant does not have
Social Security number, attach affidavit of ineligibility)
I hereby make application to the Register of Deeds for a Marriage
License and solemnly swear that all of the statements contained in
the above application are true and I further make oath that there
is no legal impediment to such marriage._______________________
Signature of Applicant
Sworn to (or affirmed) and subscribed before me this _____ day of
[Seal] Notary Public
My commission expires: ______
[Notary's typed or printed name].
(2001-62, s. 9.)
§§ 51-9 through 51-11: Repealed by Session Laws 1994, c.
647, ss. 1-3.
§ 51-12: Repealed by Session Laws 1985, c. 589, s. 27.
§ 51-13: Repealed by Session Laws 1994, c. 647, s. 4.
§ 51-14. Repealed by Session Laws 1967, c. 957, s. 3.
§ 51-15. Obtaining license by false representation
If any person shall obtain, or aid and abet in obtaining, a
marriage license by misrepresentation or false pretenses, that
person shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. (1885, c. 346;
Rev., s. 3371; C.S., s. 2501; 1967, c. 957, s. 4; 1993, c. 539, s.
417; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 2001-62, s. 10.)
§ 51-16. Form of license.
License shall be in the following or some equivalent form:
To any ordained minister of any religious denomination, minister
authorized by a church, any magistrate, or any other person
authorized to solemnize a marriage under the laws of this State:
A.B. having applied to me for a license for the marriage of C.D.
(the name of the man to be written in full) of (here state his
residence), aged ____ years (race, as the case may be), the son of
(here state the father and mother, if known; state whether they
are living or dead, and their residence, if known; if any of these
facts are not known, so state), and E.F. (write the name of the
woman in full) of (here state her residence), aged ____ years
(race, as the case may be), the daughter of (here state names and
residences of the parents, if known, as is required above with
respect to the man). (If either of the parties is under 18 years
of age, the license shall here contain the following:) And the
written consent of G.H., father (or mother, etc., as the case may
be) to the proposed marriage having been filed with me, and there
being no legal impediment to such marriage known to me, you are
hereby authorized, at any time within 60 days from the date
hereof, to celebrate the proposed marriage at any place within the
State. You are required within 10 days after you shall have
celebrated such marriage, to return this license to me at my
office with your signature subscribed to the certificate under
this license, and with the blanks therein filled according to the
facts, under penalty of forfeiting two hundred dollars ($200.00)
to the use of any person who shall sue for the same.
Issued this ____ day of ____, ____
Register of Deeds of ____ County
Every register of deeds shall, at the request of an applicant,
designate in a marriage license issued the race of the persons
proposing to marry by inserting in the blank after the word
"race" the words "white," "black,"
"African-American," "American Indian,"
"Alaska Native," "Asian Indian,"
"Chinese," "Filipino," "Japanese,"
"Korean," "Vietnamese," "Other
Asian," "Native Hawaiian," "Guamarian,"
"Chamorro," "Samoan," "Other Pacific
Islander," "Mexican," "Mexican-American,"
"Chicano," "Puerto Rican," "Cuban,"
"Other Spanish/Hispanic/Latino," or "other,"
as the case may be. The certificate shall be filled out and signed
by the minister, officer, or other authorized individual
celebrating the marriage, and also be signed by two witnesses
present at the marriage, who shall add to their names their place
of residence, as follows:
I, N.O., an ordained or authorized minister or other authorized
individual of (here state to what religious denomination, or
magistrate, as the case may be), united in matrimony (here name
the parties), the parties licensed above, on the ___ day of
______, ___, at the house of P.R., in (here name the town, if any,
the township and county), according to law.
Witness present at the marriage:
S.T., of (here give residence).
(1871-2, c. 193, s. 6; Code, s. 1815; 1899, c. 541, ss. 1, 2;
Rev., s. 2089; 1909, c. 704, s. 3; 1917, c. 38; C.S., s. 2502;
1953, c. 638, s. 2; 1967, c. 957, s. 7; 1971, c. 1072; c. 1185, s.
27; 1999-456, s. 59; 2001-62, s. 11.)
§ 51-16.1. Form of license for Address Confidentiality
If a person submits to the local register of deeds a current and
valid Address Confidentiality Program authorization card issued
pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 15C of the General Statutes,
the local register of deeds shall use the substitute address
designated by the Address Confidentiality Program when creating a
new marriage license. (2002-171, s. 3.)
§ 51-17. Penalty for issuing license unlawfully.
Every register of deeds who knowingly or without reasonable
inquiry, personally or by deputy, issues a license for the
marriage of any two persons to which there is any lawful
impediment, or where either of the persons is under the age of 18
years, without the consent required by law, shall forfeit and pay
two hundred dollars ($200.00) to any parent, guardian, or other
person standing in loco parentis, who sues for the same: Provided,
that requiring a party to a proposed marriage to present a
certified copy of his or her birth certificate, or a certified
copy of his or her birth record in the form of a birth
registration card as provided in G.S. 130-102, in accordance with
the provisions of G.S. 51-8, shall be considered a reasonable
inquiry into the matter of the age of such party. (R.C., c. 68, s.
13; 1871-2, c. 193, s. 7; Code, s. 1816; 1895, c. 387; 1901, c.
722; Rev., s. 2090; C.S., s. 2503; 1957, c. 506, s. 2.)
§ 51-18. Record of licenses and returns; originals filed.
The register of deeds shall maintain a separate index for
marriage licenses and returns thereto. Each marriage license shall
be indexed alphabetically according to the name of the proposed
husband and proposed wife. Each index entry shall include, but not
be limited to, the full name of the intended husband and wife, the
date the marriage ceremony was performed, and the location of the
original license and the return thereon. The original license and
return shall be filed and preserved. (1871-2, c. 193, s. 9; Code,
s. 1818; 1899, c. 541, s. 3; Rev., s. 2091; C.S., s. 2504; 1963,
c. 429; 1967, c. 957, s. 8; 1979, c. 636, s. 1; 1983, c. 699, s.
§ 51-18.1. Correction of errors in application or license;
amendment of names in application or license.
(a) When it shall appear to the register of deeds of any
county in this State that information is incorrectly stated on an
application for a marriage license, or upon a marriage license
issued thereunder, or upon a return or certificate of an
officiating officer, the register of deeds is authorized to
correct such record or records upon being furnished with an
affidavit signed by one or both of the applicants for the marriage
license, accompanied by affidavits of at least two other persons
who know the correct information.
(b) When the name of a party to a marriage has been changed by
court order as a result of a legitimation action or other cause of
action, and the party whose name is changed presents a signed
affidavit to the register of deeds indicating the name change and
requesting that the application for a marriage license, the
marriage license, and the marriage certificate of the officiating
officer be amended by substituting the changed name for the
original name, the register of deeds may amend the records as
requested by the party, provided the other party named in the
records consents to the amendment. (1953, c. 797; 1959, c. 344;
1987, c. 576; 2001-62, s. 12.)
§ 51-19. Penalty for failure to record.
Any register of deeds who fails to record, in the manner above
prescribed, the substance of any marriage license issued by him,
or who fails to record, in the manner above prescribed, the
substance of any return made thereon, within 10 days after such
return made, shall forfeit and pay two hundred dollars ($200.00)
to any person who sues for the same. (1871-2, c. 193, s. 10; Code,
s. 1819; Rev., s. 2092; C.S., s. 2505.)
§ 51-20. Repealed by Session Laws 1969, c. 80, s. 6.
§ 51-21. Issuance of delayed marriage certificates.
In all those cases where a minister or other person authorized
by law to perform marriage ceremonies has failed to file his
return thereof in the office of the register of deeds who issued
the license for such marriage, the register of deeds of such
county is authorized to issue a delayed marriage certificate upon
being furnished with one or more of the following:
(1) The affidavit of at least two
witnesses to the marriage ceremony;
(2) The affidavit of one or both parties to the marriage,
accompanied by the affidavit of at least one witness to the
(3) The affidavit of the minister or other person authorized by
law who performed the marriage ceremony, accompanied by the
affidavit of one or more witnesses to the ceremony or one of the
(4) When proof as required by the three methods set forth in
subdivisions (1), (2), and (3) above is not available with respect
to any marriage alleged to have been performed prior to January 1,
1935, the register of deeds is authorized to accept the affidavit
of any one of the persons named in subdivisions (1), (2), and (3)
and in addition thereto such other proof in writing as he may deem
sufficient to establish the marriage and any facts relating
thereto; provided, however, that if the evidence offered under
this paragraph is insufficient to convince the register of deeds
that the marriage ceremony took place, or any of the pertinent
facts relating thereto, the applicants may bring a special
proceeding before the clerk of superior court of the county in
which the purported marriage ceremony took place. The said clerk
of the superior court is authorized to hear the evidence and make
findings as to whether or not the purported ceremony took place
and as to any pertinent facts relating thereto. If the clerk finds
that the marriage did take place as alleged, he is to certify such
findings to the register of deeds who is to then issue a delayed
marriage certificate in accordance with the provisions of this
The certificate issued by the register of deeds under authority
of this section shall contain the date of the delayed filing, the
date the marriage ceremony was actually performed, and all such
certificates issued pursuant to this section shall have the same
evidentiary value as any other marriage certificates issued
pursuant to law. (1951, c. 1224; 1955, c. 246; 1967, c. 957, s.
10; 1969, c. 80, s. 12.)
< Back to Virtual