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Does a Marriage License in Louisiana Expire?

Does a Marriage License in Louisiana Expire?

When planning a wedding, one of the main tasks is obtaining a marriage license from the local parish clerk’s office. Many couples wonder – does this marriage license have an expiration date?

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the laws surrounding marriage licenses in Louisiana and answer the question of whether they expire.

By understanding the ins and outs of marriage license validity periods, you can feel confident about your wedding timeline and plans.

So without further ado, let’s dive in.

What is a Marriage License?

Before delving into expiration dates, let’s first define what a marriage license is. A marriage license is an official document issued by the state that allows two individuals to legally marry.

It serves as proof that a couple has fulfilled all premarital requirements set forth by the state, such as undergoing premarital education, obtaining parental consent if one or both parties are underage, and paying any applicable fees. Obtaining a marriage license is the first legal step in the marriage process.

Once issued by the parish clerk’s office, the license must then be signed by an ordained minister, justice of the peace, or other authorized officiant during the wedding ceremony. The signed license is then returned to the clerk’s office as proof that a legal marriage took place.

Marriage License Validity Periods in Louisiana

Now that we understand the purpose of a marriage license, let’s examine the laws surrounding their validity periods in Louisiana. According to Title 9 of Louisiana Revised Statutes, all marriage licenses issued in the state are valid for 30 days from the date of issuance. After 30 days have passed, the license expires and is no longer valid for performing a marriage ceremony.

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It’s important to note that this 30-day validity period applies statewide – there are no exceptions based on parish or location within Louisiana. The clock starts ticking as soon as the license is issued by the clerk’s office, so couples have exactly one calendar month to exchange vows before needing to obtain a new license.

Some key points about Louisiana’s 30-day validity period:

  • The license does not automatically expire at the end of the 30th day – marriages can be performed any time before midnight on the 30th day.
  • Validity is not extended for weekends or holidays. The 30-day period includes all days of the week without exception.
  • If weather or other unforeseen circumstances delay a wedding, the parties cannot perform the ceremony using an expired license and must obtain a new one instead.

So in summary – yes, marriage licenses in Louisiana do have an expiration date. They are valid for 30 calendar days from the issue date, at which point couples must reapply for a new license if necessary. Let’s dive deeper into the license reissuance process.

Reapplying for an Expired Marriage License

Occasionally, life happens and weddings don’t always go according to plan. What if a Louisiana couple finds themselves with an expired marriage license because they couldn’t marry within the 30-day window? Not to worry – it’s possible to reapply.

To obtain a new license after expiration, both parties must return to the clerk’s office where the original was issued. They will need to complete a new application and submit it along with applicable fees. The keys things to note about reapplication are:

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1. There is no waiting period required between an expired license and reapplying for a new one. Couples can start the reapplication process immediately.

2. Standard application requirements like proof of ID, premarital education certificates (if applicable), and fees still apply for the new license just as with the original.

3. The reissued license will carry its own new 30-day validity period starting from the date it is processed by the clerk’s office.

So while marriage licenses do carry expiration dates, the good news is Louisiana makes it relatively simple to renew as needed without major delays or roadblocks. Just be sure to allot enough time prior to the wedding date to reapply if there’s any chance the first license may expire beforehand.

Special Circumstances and Exceptions

For the most part, Louisiana’s marriage license validity laws apply uniformly across the state. However, there are a few exceptions worth noting that may provide additional flexibility under certain special circumstances:

Military Personnel Exception

For active-duty military members stationed outside of Louisiana, the 30-day validity period is extended to 60 days to allow for travel back to the state to wed. This provides more leeway when service obligations may interfere with plans.

Hospitalized Party Exception

If one party is confined to a hospital or other health care facility within the original 30-day window, the license’s validity is automatically extended for an additional 30 days to accommodate the situation.

Recognition of Other State’s Licenses

Louisiana will also recognize valid marriage licenses issued by other U.S. states or territories, provided the license complies with the issuing state’s laws. This allows couples to legally wed in Louisiana using an out-of-state license within its validity period.

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So in limited circumstances, some flexibility exists. But for typical non-military couples marrying within Louisiana, the standard 30-day rule applies uniformly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some additional common questions about Louisiana marriage license expiration:

  • What happens if we get married after expiration without renewing? The marriage will not be legally recognized by the state and is subject to annulment.
  • Can the clerk’s office extend the 30-day period? No, clerks do not have the authority to lengthen the validity period set forth in state law.
  • How far in advance can we apply? Louisiana allows pre-application up to 6 months before the wedding date.
  • Do both parties need to be present to reapply? Yes, standard identification and documentation are required from both individuals just as with the initial application.
  • If one of us moves, can we marry elsewhere? As long as the license was validly issued in Louisiana originally, ceremonies can take place in any parish within the state.

In closing, while Louisiana marriage licenses do technically expire 30 days after issuance, the straightforward reapplication process makes renewals simple. With some advance planning and flexibility in wedding dates, couples can ensure legal validity without much difficulty. Just be sure not to cut it too close to that expiration deadline!



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