Legal Lessons From Beyonce's Marital Moves

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Are April wedding showers in short order, or did we just fall for an April Fools' Day prank?


That is the question their fans are asking after Sean Carter, aka Jay-Z, and Beyonce Knowles applied for a marriage license on April 1 in Scarsdale, N.Y. The application, first reported by People.com (TWX), could mean their six year courtship will finally culminate in a wedding ring exchange soon.


While their license may have been issued on a prankster’s favorite day, the process is no joke. In order to get legally married in any state, getting a marriage license is the required first step. The document's statue of limitations, which varies by state and sometimes even by county, also determines when nuptials can take place. In Las Vegas, for instance, you can get a license and have an official marry you in one happy swoop. However, in New York, applicants must wait at least 24 hours before engaging in a ceremony.


At the same time, a marriage license can expire, and couples who do not get married in the time allotted by the state must then reapply. Again in New York, a marriage license expires after 60 days. In Maryland bride-and-grooms-to be have six months to tie the knot. A state or county clerk can provide specific information on the duration of their state's marriage license.


The price of a marriage license also differs state to state. That New York wedding license cost Jay-Z $40. Last year, Illinois raised its fee by $5 to $15. And while many officials accept cash payments, it makes sense to call ahead to confirm what types of payments are accepted. (Some states may charge an additional fee for credit card use, too.)


Other license application requirements also vary by state, so again, check with your local clerk. You may be asked to present a birth certificate, proof of citizenship, or even a blood test. There are also exceptions: In Illinois you can use a credit card or bank statement in lieu of photo identification. If you were previously married, then documents verifying your ex's death or divorce may be needed.


It must be stressed: Find out what the requirements are in the county, city, or town that you are getting married in. Interested in learning more about the state or county where you are planning to wed? Check out this TheWeddingChannel.com for more information. And if you’re having a destination wedding in another country, “call the tourism board of each island and look for the registrar” because there may be rules, including the need to “establish residency, says Christa Vagnozzi, a Senior Editor at TheWeddingChannel.com. For the most part, it’s about where the wedding is scheduled to take place, not where the future couple hails from. A marriage license from a county in Maryland is not legal for a New York wedding. And if Jay-Z and Beyonce are planning a June wedding in New York, which would be more than 60 days away, then they'll be applying for another license. Don't worry, MainStreet is pretty sure they can afford it.

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