How to Find Washington Marriage Records
Marriage in Washington is a legally recognized union between two people who have agreed to enter into a lifetime partnership. This is not just an agreement to share their lives together, but also a legal contract between the two that can involve other parties, including children or other family members. It determines the obligations of the two parties, and allocation of property including finances. Per state law, marriage records are considered a type of Washington public record unless sealed by a judge. Consequently, interested members of the public may access these records on request.
Washington marriage records comprise both marriage licenses and marriage certificates. These records are held and maintained by separate government entities. The WSDH is responsible for maintaining Washington's vital records, including birth records, death records, marriage certificates, and divorce certificates. Hence, record seekers can find marriage records by performing a marriage record search through the state Department of Health (WSDH) or through county auditors' offices. Inquirers may also find and obtain marriage certificates through the WSDH. However, Washington marriage licenses are primarily issued and maintained locally by county auditors' offices.
According to the Washington vital statistics summary, in 2020, there were 21,477 divorces and 37,109 marriages. The state vital statistics summary suggests an overall decline in both marriages and divorces in the state given that 2019 reports revealed 43,788 marriages and 23,662 divorces within state limits
Are Washington Marriage Records Public?
While Washington Marriage Records are public, they are some of the most difficult records to obtain due to the personal nature of the information within. Government organizations often offer marriage verification letters rather than the original marriage record because a marriage record must remain intact and unchanged with regard to the people involved in the marriage. When changes need to be made, these records are critical to that procedure.
Family Court Records can include marriage records and divorce records. These records contain the personal records and information of those involved and their maintenance is critical should anyone involved wish to make changes. Because of this both marriage and divorce records can be considered more difficult to locate and obtain than other public records, and may not be available through government sources or third party public record websites.
How to Find Out if Someone is Married in Washington
Inquirers can perform a marriage record search in Washington to find out if someone is married in the state. This type of search is typically targeted at finding Washington public marriage records.
Two types of marriage records in Washington may reveal the marital status of an individual; a marriage certificate and marriage license. Each of them are maintained and obtained from different sources.
To order a marriage certificate in Washington, record seekers can either submit their request by mail to the State Department of Health (WSDH) or make an in-person request at a Local Health Department. To request a record by mail, a record seeker must complete the marriage/divorce order form. After completing the form, mail it with the applicable fees to the WSDH address specified on the form. Fees can be paid via a check or money order payable to the record custodian. After the WSDH processes their paperwork and fees, the inquirer can expect to get their order within 1-3 weeks.
Alternatively, inquirers can also look up Washington marriage licenses to discover if the subject has ever applied for a marriage license in the state. Marriage license records are stored and maintained by the county auditor's office that granted the license. So, the first step for an inquirer would be to determine the county where the subject may have sought for a marriage license. It may be the county in which the individual presently resides or one of their former residences. Once the county has been identified, the applicant can request a marriage license by mail or in person by going to the county auditor's office. To facilitate the record search and sabe time, the inquirer must supply the names of the bride and groom as well as the license issuance and marriage dates.
Although marriage records can indicate that a person has been married, it is equally vital to look up the dissolution of marriage records to determine whether or not the subject is still married. The most relevant dissolution of marriage record to look up is a divorce certificate, as they are a simple statement that a divorce has occurred. One can look up divorce certificates in Washington through the WSDH. Record seekers would need to fill out the marriage/divorce order form and mail it with the required fee to the WSDH, which is similar to the process described above for acquiring marriage certificates. At a Local Health Department, the requestor can also make an in-person request for a divorce certificate in Washington.
How to Check Marriage Status Online
Interested members of the public may check marriage status online by looking up an individual's personal or marital records through a record custodian's database. Inquirers may also be able to find marriage records online through the Washington State Digital Archives. The Archives contain a variety of public records, including Washington's vital records such as marriage, divorce, birth, and death records. Third-party websites can also be used to find marriage records and divorce records in Washington and place an order online for them.
What are Washington Marriage Records?
Washington marriage records include all the information about a marriage proceeding or ceremony. It comprises both Marriage Certificates and Marriage Licenses. This is the most complete proof of marriage in the state of Washington, and the documents inside it can be used to fulfill different legal needs.
Both government websites and organizations may offer divorce and marriage records. Similarly, third party public record websites can also provide these types of records. But because third party organizations are not operated or sponsored by the government, record availability may vary. Further, marriage and divorce records are considered highly private and are often sealed, meaning availability of these types of records cannot be guaranteed.
How to Find Public Marriage Records for Free in Washington
It is exceedingly difficult to find public marriage records for free in Washington. However, interested parties can access Washington public marriage records by paying relatively inexpensive fees. Marriage records from before 1968 are held and maintained by the County Auditor, and records from 1968 to present are held and maintained by the Washington Department of Health. Inquirers can access these through the State Department of Health or their local Washington county health department. These records may not be certified or bear a raised seal, but unverified records can still serve a number of purposes. It is important to confirm with the Washington Department of Health whether the records are fit to serve the requester’s needs.
How to Change Your Name After Marriage in Washington
A person that wants to change their name after marriage in Washington must first obtain their marriage license. Typically, a married person collects their marriage license after the ceremony. However, the individual may need to get a copy of their Washington marriage certificate. In that case, they can contact their county office, provide proof of identity, and pay the fee to obtain a certified copy of a marriage certificate.
Once the person gets their marriage license, the next step in carrying out a name change after marriage is informing the Social Security Administration (SSA) about the change. Interested applicants must fill out the SS-5 form and follow the instructions. They must also attach:
- The marriage certificate
- A current state-issued ID or driver’s license
- A copy of a birth certificate international passport or document bearing their birth date
Once completed, the applicant can mail or drop the application at their nearest SSA office. After sending an application to the SSA, the person changing their name after marriage should apply to change the name on their international passport. Passport applications go to the Department of State. Applicants whose passport is under a year old can fill out form DS-5504, attach a certified copy of a marriage license, their current passport, and a recent passport photograph.
Persons in Washington changing their name after marriage must also update their driver’s license. Parties should visit the local DMV office and provide a recently updated passport and current driver’s license. An updated driver’s license costs $10 in Washington.
What are Washington Marriage Certificates?
Washington Marriage Certificates are proof that a marriage has taken place between two people. After the marriage, the couple is typically given these documents for their own personal records. This document is different from that of a marriage license, which states the eligibility of two people to be married by a governmental body.
How Do I Get My Marriage Certificate in Washington?
To order a marriage certificate in Washington, check to see what government entity is holding them. All marriages from 1968 to present are held in the State Department of Health or a local Washington county health department. To begin the process, start by filling out an application or written statement. If ordering in-person, fill out the counter application. If mailing in the request, fill out the mail order application. These applications require one to know general information about the marriage, including the names of the spouses, and the date and county that the marriage took place in. The fees for these records vary. For in-person requests, visit
Washington State Department of Health
Center for Health Statistics
Town Center 1
101 Israel Road SE
Tumwater, WA 98501
The hours of this office are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. It may be important to note that visiting the office and submitting an application may not result in same-day service
If mailing in the application, send the form to
Center for Health Statistics
Department of Health
P.O. Box 9709
Olympia, WA 98507
Registrants can also obtain their marriage certificate by placing an online marriage certificate order through third-party websites. To use this website, registrants are typically required to provide the state and date the marriage occurred as well as the date of marriage.
How Do I Obtain a Copy of My Marriage Certificate in Washington
To obtain a copy of one’s own marriage certificate, visit the State Department of Health or the local Washington county health department. If going the state route, begin by completing an application or written statement. If planning on visiting in person, complete the counter application. If planning on mailing in one’s request, complete the marriage/divorce order form. After this, send these items, plus the required fees and identification requirements to the State Department of Health at the addresses listed previously.
What are Washington Marriage Licenses?
A marriage license in Washington should be applied for at the office of the county auditor. Many counties offer services to begin an application online, but if not, the entirety of the application must be made at the county auditor’s office. This license gives official authorization by the state for two people to enter into a marriage together. Applicants do not have to live in the state of Washington, although licenses obtained in Washington cannot be used in other states. A marriage license issued in any Washington county can be used anywhere in the state. It is also not required to have a U.S. social security number. There is a three day waiting period to receive a Washington marriage license. After a license has been obtained, the couple must get married within 60 days of application.
Depending on the county, the fee for applying for a marriage license is $57.00 to $67.00, plus an additional $3 fee for certification. This can be paid by cash or debit or credit card. Some counties accept checks or money orders, but not all.
Requirements state that:
- Both parties must be currently unmarried. If married before, provide proof of dissolution of marriage or a death certificate
- Both parties must be 18 years old or meet other requirements
- The parties cannot be related by blood
- Both parties must provide a valid current photo ID including driver’s license or state photo ID, passport or passport card, U.S. military ID, or a permanent resident card
If one or both applicants are 17, they must meet certain requirements in order to have their marriage license approved. A parent or guardian of the underage party must give an official statement of consent, as long as they also provide the birth certificate or proof of guardianship. It is also possible to obtain a marriage license at 17 years old if previously emancipated, and those documents should be brought at the time of applying.
Are Prenups Public Record in Washington?
No. there are no laws in the state of Washington that specify whether prenuptial agreements, also known as prenups, are public records. As a result, the general public may be able to seek these records from their custodian agencies.