- All persons wishing to marry in Massachusetts must obtain a marriage license issued from a Massachusetts City or Town Clerk's Office of their choice.
- The bride and groom must jointly apply for the license (file intentions) in person at the Clerk's Office. Marriage licenses are permanently maintained on file at the Clerk's Office where the marriage intention is filed.
- Marriage Intentions may be filed at the Sunderland Town Clerk's Office at the following times:
- Monday: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- Tuesday - Wednesday: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Thursday: 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Applying for a Marriage License
According to Massachusetts law, you must jointly file intentions to marry, and you may do so with the city or town clerk in any community in the state. If a person is in the military, intentions may be filed by either party, providing one is a Massachusetts resident. If a person is incarcerated in a county house of correction or a state correctional facility, intentions may be filed by either party. A marriage license, once obtained, is valid for 60 days from the date intentions are filed and may be used in any Massachusetts city or town. It is not valid outside of the state.
While Sundays and holidays are included in the three days, the day the application is made is not. For example, if you apply on Friday, your license will be issued on or after Monday. Check with your town clerk to determine whether you must pick up the license in person, or if it may be mailed.
A Massachusetts resident may marry if he or she is 18 years of age or older. A birth certificate may be required to show proof or age. If either party is under 18, a court order from a probate or district court where the minor resides must be obtained before the marriage intentions can be filed.
Neither party is required to present a divorce certificate when filing#intentions to marry. However, it is extremely important that an individual who has been divorced be certain that his/her divorce is absolute. If the party is uncertain as to the absolute date of the divorce, they should contact the court where the divorce was granted. In Massachusetts, a divorce does not become absolute until 90 days after the divorce nisi has been granted, regardless of the grounds for divorce.There are no special requirements for a widow or widower who is remarrying.
Massachusetts statute does not require that witnesses be present at your ceremony. However, if a member of the clergy performs the ceremony, you should ensure that you are in conformity with the appropriate religious tenets.
If an out-of-state member of the clergy is to perform the marriage, the clergyperson must obtain a Certificate of Authorization from the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth prior to the ceremony. This certificate, which is issued by the Public Records Division of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, is to be attached to the original license and returned to the clerk of the city or town where the license was issued. For further information, contact: Division of Public Records Secretary of the Commonwealth One Ashburton Place, Room 1719 Boston, MA 02108 (617) 727-236.
If a person other than a member of the clergy is designated as "Solemnizer" or Justice of the Peace for the Ceremony, further information can be obtained from: Secretary of the Commonwealth One Ashburton Place Boston, MA 02108 (617) 727-5787 Additional assistance. You may contact the Town Clerk’s office at (413) 665-1442, or: Department of Public Health Registry of Vital Records & Statistics 150 Mt. Vernon Street Dorchester, MA 02125-310 (617) 740-2600
Obtaining Certified Copies of the Marriage License
It has been the experience of the Town Clerk that many couples wish to have a certified copy of their marriage record to keep with family records and to comply with the constant demands made today for proof of marriage. If you wish a certified copy of your marriage records, the Town Clerk will be pleased to send you one upon receipt of a check for $10.00 made out to the Town of Sunderland.
Include the following information when requesting your copy:
- Date of Marriage:
- Name of Groom:
- Name of Bride:
- Address to mail:
Please include a self-addressed stamped envelope.