§ 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.)
§ 51-8.2. 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 license:
First Middle Last
State County City or Town
Street and Number
Inside City Limits (Yes or No): ________________________________________
County & State or Country
Birth Date: ______________ Age: ____
Name State of Birth
Address (if living) or Deceased
Name State of Birth
Address (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 misdemeanor.
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 Program participant.
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. 2.)
§ 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 marriage ceremony;
(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 parties thereto.
(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 section.
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.)