Will You Marry Us?

Jun 22, 2022

Often, when people think of family law issues, they think of ending a marriage or civil union and the legal issues that are involved, such as child custody and property division. However, family law also governs the validity of New Jersey marriages and civil unions.

One of the specific laws governing the validity of marriages and civil unions in New Jersey is the statute identifying who is authorized to perform a marriage or civil union ceremony in New Jersey. These individuals are identified in N.J.S.A. 37:1-13. Prior to November 14, 2016, the individuals included judges, magistrates, mayors or deputy mayors, county clerks, chairmen of any township committees, and ministers of every religion. However, on November 14, 2016, a new group of individuals was added to the list.

The new group is “any civil celebrant who is certified by the Secretary of State to solemnize marriages or civil unions.” A “civil celebrant” can become certified by the Secretary of State if the celebrant: (a) is over the age of 18 and has graduated from a secondary school in New Jersey or another state; (b) has completed a civil celebrant course offered by a non-denominational or educational charitable organization that is registered in New Jersey; and (c) submits a completed application form and pays a fee between $50 and $75.

The new group no longer requires the celebrant to become ordained a “minister” to perform a marriage or civil union ceremony.

If you have questions about your New Jersey family law issues, please contact the experienced attorneys at Sarno da Costa D’Aniello Maceri LLC at (973) 274-5200.