In 2019, the Utah County marriage license office and Utah County information technology departments launched a year-long initiative to establish a fully digital end-to-end marriage license issuance and recording process. This effort was made to modernize the Clerk/Auditor's office and bring it into the 21st century. 

As a result, couples now have the convenience of applying for a marriage license, conducting the ceremony, and submitting the necessary paperwork online. This online marriage procedure eliminates the need for couples to physically visit the office to obtain and return their marriage license.

The Legality of Online Marriages in Utah

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the requirements for a marriage to be considered lawful were quite strict. Both the couple and the officiant had to be physically present for the union, and obtaining a marriage license in Georgia required an in-person visit to the county clerk's office. However, with the onset of social distancing measures and the closure of many county clerk offices, this presented a significant challenge.

To address this issue, the Utah County marriage license office and Utah County information technology departments launched a year-long initiative in 2019. Their goal was to establish a fully digital end-to-end marriage license issuance and recording process, promising to bring the Clerk/Auditor's office into the 21st century. As of January 2020, couples gained the option to apply for a marriage license, conduct the ceremony, and have the officiant submit the necessary paperwork for the marriage certificate, all online.

One of the significant advantages of Utah's online marriage procedure is that it is accessible to anyone, regardless of residency. When you go through Utah's process, you will receive a legal US Marriage Certificate. Marriages performed legally in one state are recognized across the country, as long as they comply with federal and state laws.

While the rules surrounding online marriage vary depending on the location where the marriage license is registered, in Utah County, where anyone can obtain a marriage license, the entire wedding can be conducted online. The couple, the officiant, and any witnesses can participate using video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Skype, or Facetime. Online marriage platform services like Courtly can also assist in facilitating the process.

It's important to note that marriage laws and regulations can change, so it's recommended to visit the official website of the Utah County Clerk/Auditor's Office for the most up-to-date and accurate information.

Documents Required for Online Marriage in Utah

To proceed with an online marriage in Utah, obtaining a marriage license is a requirement for all engaged couples. Unlike citizenship and residency, which are not prerequisites, certain documents and information must be provided as part of the application process. 

According to Utah Code 30-1-8, applicants for marriage licenses need to furnish their names, addresses, social security numbers, dates of birth, and the names and places of birth of their parents. Additionally, applicants must present a government-issued ID card containing their photo, legal name, and date of birth as a means to establish their identities. Common examples of such identification include driver's licenses or passports.

It is important to note that these requirements may vary slightly based on the specific county within Utah where the marriage license is being sought. Engaged couples are advised to consult the official website of the respective county clerk's office or directly contact them for comprehensive instructions regarding the online marriage license application process, submission of necessary documents such as self-portraits, government-issued IDs, and payment of associated fees.

The Legality of Online Marriages in Other States and Countries

The recognition of online marriages as legally binding varies across different jurisdictions. In the United States, all 50 states generally recognize online marriages as valid and enforceable. This means that if you get married online in one state, it will be recognized as a legal marriage in all other states within the US.

However, the recognition of online marriages outside the United States depends on the specific laws and regulations of each country. While many nations acknowledge marriages conducted abroad, the exact requirements and procedures for recognition can vary. In some cases, additional validation or certification may be necessary to ensure international recognition of a legally certified document.

For example, to enhance the international recognition of a marriage certificate obtained in Utah, apostille certification can be obtained. An apostille is an additional form of certification that verifies the authenticity of a legal document issued in one country, allowing it to be recognized in another country. In the case of Utah marriage licenses, the Utah Lt. Governor's office is the government authority responsible for issuing apostilles. If you require apostille certification for your Utah marriage certificate to ensure its recognition abroad, services like Courtly can assist you in obtaining an apostille stamp for an additional fee.

It is important to note that the specific requirements and processes for international recognition of online marriages and apostille certification can vary depending on the country in question. It is advisable to consult with legal authorities or seek professional assistance to ensure compliance with the laws and regulations of the particular jurisdiction where recognition is sought.

Steps to Get Married Online in Utah

To achieve legal marriage status, couples are required to go through three distinct stages: obtaining a marriage license, participating in a wedding ceremony, and officially registering the marriage with the county.

1. Get a Marriage License

To legally wed in Utah County, couples must go through the process of obtaining a marriage license. There are three methods available for acquiring the license. Firstly, couples can visit the designated location where their identities will be verified, and they need to physically present their identification to the staff and sign the affidavit in ink. Secondly, couples have the option to complete the entire application online through the Utah County website. 

Alternatively, they can use services like Courtly, which facilitates the online application process by scanning and verifying the applicants' identification documents and photographs. If the online application is unsuccessful or the couple is unable to physically visit the office, a license may be obtained through a video conference. In this case, the conference organizer compares the attendees' ID pictures to confirm their identification, and the deputy clerk digitally signs the document on their behalf. Utah Code 46-4-201 states that digital records and signatures are legally binding. 

Once the application is submitted, the couple receives a marriage license after providing the necessary information, confirming their identities, certifying the affidavit, and paying the required fees.

2. Participate in the Ceremony

The marriage license grants couples the legal right to participate in a wedding ceremony to solemnize their union. Utah law provides minimal regulations for the specifics of the ceremony, allowing couples to personalize it according to their preferences, cultural traditions, or religious beliefs. The essential requirements for a marriage ceremony include an authorized officiant as defined by Utah Code 30-1-6, the presence of two witnesses above the age of 18 as mandated by Utah Code 30-1-11, and an opportunity for the participants to express their willingness to enter into a marital commitment. 

The marriage license office does not involve itself extensively in the wedding ceremony industry but offers simple wedding ceremonies for a nominal fee. The ceremony can be conducted remotely through video conferencing software, allowing all participants to see and hear each other in real-time. The host location for the web conference must be within the state of Utah to ensure the marriage is legally recognized, and this location is recorded on the marriage certificate as the place of the wedding.

3. Register the Marriage

The officiant holds the responsibility of ensuring that the marriage is officially recorded and recognized, regardless of the style of the ceremony. After completing and signing the marriage license, the officiant submits it to the marriage license office. In Utah County, the officiant visits the designated URL for the couple they married, where they provide their contact information, officiant title (e.g., minister or judge), and details of the event, including the time and location. 

They also digitally sign the entire marriage certificate and include the names of the witnesses. According to Utah Code 46-4-201, digital records and signatures hold the same legal validity as their paper counterparts. Once this information is entered, a digital, certified copy of the marriage license and certificate is generated. This data is stored in the county database as evidence of the legally recognized and performed marriage. The marriage license office then prints a certified copy and sends it to the couple's provided address on the next business day.

Online Marriage with Courtly

To get married online with Courtly, couples can follow the step-by-step process outlined below:

1. Create an Account

Begin by creating an account on the Courtly website. This can be done by clicking on the "Get Married" icon and following the on-screen instructions. Once the account is created, access to the platform will be granted.

2. Select Ceremony Details

Choose the desired format, setting, and officiant for the wedding ceremony. Courtly offers options that cater to individual preferences. Based on the chosen time and date, a legally qualified officiant will be matched with the couple.

3. Payment and Confirmation

Complete the payment for the selected wedding package. Once the payment is made, an email confirmation will be sent by Courtly, confirming the details of the wedding. For complete information on our available wedding packages and add-ons, please check our Pricing Page.

4. Online Wedding Ceremony

Gather online with family and friends to celebrate the marriage. The ceremony can be conducted from the comfort of your home or any location with a stable internet connection.

couple getting married remotely with a licensed officiant via zoom

The wedding ceremony typically takes around 15 minutes to complete. Immediately after the online wedding, the couple will receive a digital copy of their US marriage certificate. A printed copy will be delivered to them within 1 to 2 weeks.

The Success of Utah's Online Marriage Procedure

The implementation of Utah's online marriage procedure has proven to be a resourceful solution, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and periods of office closures. By providing an alternative option for couples to get married online, the Utah County marriage license office has successfully assisted thousands of couples in legally tying the knot.

The online marriage procedure has been particularly valuable during the pandemic when government offices faced closures and restrictions on in-person services. It allowed couples to navigate the marriage process efficiently and conveniently from the safety and comfort of their own homes.

The flexibility of the online procedure eliminated the need for physical visits to the county clerk's office, ensuring the health and safety of both couples and staff members. By leveraging technology and embracing digital solutions, Utah County was able to adapt to the challenging circumstances and provide a seamless marriage experience for couples.

The success of Utah's online marriage procedure is evident in the number of couples who have been able to fulfill their desire to get married lawfully despite the obstacles posed by distance, office closures, and travel limitations. The online process has provided a reliable and accessible option for couples, ensuring that their unions are legally recognized.

As a result, Utah's online marriage procedure has not only fulfilled its original goal of streamlining procedures and providing convenience to Utah County citizens but has also become a valuable resource during unprecedented times, helping countless couples embark on their marital journey in a lawful and meaningful way.

Conclusion

Courtly provides a convenient and streamlined online marriage experience tailored for busy individuals seeking a hassle-free process and couples who prefer online ceremonies. With Courtly, you can complete the entire marriage process from the comfort of your location, eliminating the need for in-person visits and bureaucratic hurdles.

Gone are the days of dealing with tedious paperwork. With Courtly, you can enjoy a smooth and enjoyable online wedding experience. Simply create an account, upload your required documents, and choose the ceremony format, setting, and officiant that suits your preferences. After completing the payment process, you'll receive an email confirmation, marking the start of your exciting journey.

Let us handle the paperwork.

Getting married is complicated. Courtly simplifies the process and provides everything necessary to get married online, including providing a licensed officiant who can perform a remote ceremony.

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