Marriage Intention Instructions and Name Changing

You are truly married by the power of your own love…..the day of the wedding is to celebrate with family and friends and to make it legal in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by the Justice of the Peace.

Marriage Intention Instructions

All persons who wish to be married in Massachusetts must have a marriage license issued within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Out-of -State marriage licenses cannot be used in Massachusetts.

The couple must apply in person for a marriage intention application. This requirement applies to both residents and non-residents.

There is a (3) three day waiting period to receive your license. License is valid for (60) sixty days from the day you originally file and may be used in any city or town within the Commonwealth. This license cannot be used outside of this state. A waiver of the (3) three day waiting period can be applied for at the city or town clerk’s office where you apply and then presented to a court of competent jurisdiction for approval.

Any person filing in Massachusetts who has been married and is divorced does not have to file divorce papers, but that individual’s divorce must be FINAL at the time of the application date.

Federal Statutes requires the collection of Social Security numbers (SSNs) at the time of application.

When either person is under (18) eighteen years old, a court order must be obtained from the probate court or district court where the minor resides. The parent must accompany the under age person along with the eligible person to the court prior to filing for the license. In Boston, proof of age is required if under the age of (24) twenty-four. For proof of age, a certified birth record or passport is required.

A Justice of the Peace does not require witnesses to the ceremony but some religions may require witnesses so you should contact such person before the ceremony so that requirement can be met.
Fees vary with every town or city hall.

The Justice of the Peace must sign the license and return it to the city or town where it was issued. That is the only place where the license will be registered.

Fee for the marriage license varies with each town/city hall.

Name Changing:

After your marriage the officiant will return your license to the Clerk’s Office from where you applied for it.
After it is recorded certified copies will be available upon your request, each town/city hall have different charges for these. You may request as many copies as you need in person, or by mail.

If you are changing your last name you will need to change your identifications’ records. This requires you to contact the agencies and institution you deal with. For some it may require a certified copy of your marriage certificate and/or a special form from the institution, others may accept a photocopy, letter or simple a phone call. Some forms and/or institutions may be found on line.

You may wish to start with the Social Security Office:

O’Neill Building (Room 148)
10 Causeway Street Boston, MA 02222
(617) 523-3213

Here is a list of some organizations you may need to contact:

  • Social Security
  • Drivers License
  • Passport
  • IRS
  • Post Office
  • Schools
  • Voter Registration
  • Banks
  • Credit Cards
  • Insurance Companies
  • Employer
  • Retirement Plan
  • Contracts

Please don’t forget to update your legal documents such as:

  • Will, Living Will
  • Health Care Proxy
  • Power of Attorney