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Getting Married in Arkansas

The Natural State, Arkansas, is a land of beauty and cosmopolitan grace that is at once welcoming and inviting to all who choose to visit or live there. This includes people who are contemplating getting married in Arkansas. For those who are going to do so, there are a few rules and regulations to understand before taking the big leap.

Always keep in mind that every state in the nation has slightly different marriage laws, and the counties within a particular state may have variations of the laws of the state as a whole. With that being said, the first thing to know about marriage in Arkansas is that you do not have to be a resident of the state in order to be married there. So, combine a vacation with a marriage and get the best of both worlds!

For those people getting married in Arkansas who are between the ages of 18 and 21, the state requires a bit more in terms of identification than for those over 21. Normally, those folks under the age of 21 will need to provide identification in the form of certified copies of birth certificates, a passport or a military identification card. Those over 21 will only need to supply a driver's license. Additionally, both persons will need to be present in order to apply for any Arkansas marriage licenses.

Know What Forms and Documents You Need to Get Married in the Natural State

Generally formal requirements are fairly simple but it might be a good idea to get to work on acquiring everything that needs to be shown or used several weeks prior to the big event. There are a number of good websites available that can assist in helping to gather everything and getting the proper license.

For those who were previously married there are a couple of additional considerations. Be prepared to provide a copy of the divorce decree when getting married in Arkansas, and if that is not available then one should be prepared to provide the date, county and other information relating to the marriage, including the name of the former spouse. If there was a name change involved, then a copy of the divorce decree must be provided.

Like several other states in the country, Arkansas allows what is called the "covenant marriage option," which is a marriage that is more demanding of the people getting involved in the marriage and can be a little bit more difficult to dissolve in the event of a divorce. There is no waiting period for either a covenant marriage or a standard marriage.

Fees as they apply to Arkansas marriage applications are fairly reasonable and will generally come in at between $35 and $47, payable in cash only. Check with the county where the marriage will be performed in order to get a better idea of how much it might cost. In the past, many states required blood tests or other physical exams before people could marry one another, but that is no longer the case. Arkansas doesn't mandate any sort of exams or tests, in fact, so beware a website that says that it can line one up for a fee. There is a misconception about many Southern states in that they all allow cousins to marry, but this is not true. Arkansas does not actually permit such marriages.

Additionally, understand that Arkansas does not allow same-sex marriages to be performed, though there are a couple of states where such ceremonies are legal and permitted. For those religious people -- known as ministers or otherwise - who wish to perform the marriage ceremony, credentials must be on file in one of these 75 counties that make up Arkansas. Also, no witnesses are necessary for purposes of marriage ceremonies in the state.

Lastly, keep in mind that Arkansas marriage licenses are valid for 60 days from date of issuance. If the license is not executed it must be returned to the clerk's office where it was issued or the state may take out a $100 bond against both of the people who applied for the license.

For those who still have any sort of questions about getting married in Arkansas, look around the Web and see what you can find. Obtaining marriage licenses isn't a hard thing to get done if one only takes a few minutes to study the diverse requirements in the state in which the ceremony will be performed.