Can you have 2 marriage licenses in 2 different states?

UPDATED: May 26, 2012

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Can you have 2 marriage licenses in 2 different states?

I plan on having a civil ceremony in one state because we are both going on military tours here. I then plan on having a ceremony in my home state; this would be our real wedding. Can I get a new license and certificate for the second wedding and it still have it be legal?

Asked on May 26, 2012 under Family Law, Washington


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You cannot legally be married to the same person twice (at least not without divorcing them first and re-marrying them). There can only be one official license. You can either have a legal ceremony in the state in which you both now live or in your home state of residence. What many people do in such a situation, is to have the legal ceremony first, followed by a religious or like ceremony, which would not require a marriage license. (i.e. it would be an "unoffcial" ceremony).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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