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What You Need To Know About Getting Your Marriage License in Lake Charles, LA

What You Need To Know About Getting Your Marriage License in Lake Charles, LA

Photograph by Leroy Tademy Jr. of Tademy Design and Photography
Photograph by Leroy Tademy Jr. of Tademy Design and Photography

Sometimes final planning details pop out of no where…like getting your marriage license! It may not be one of the most “fun” wedding planning tasks, but it must be done. Here’s what you need to know about getting your Marriage License in Lake Charles, LA:

Before you purchase your Marriage License, you are required to get an identification waiver
Unless you would like the office to keep your birth certificate (as they will be required to do by law otherwise), you should stop by and get this waiver from the 14th Judicial District Judges Offices (1001 Lake Shore Drive – 3rd floor, Lake Charles, LA 70601). You will need a state issued ID (driver’s licenses) or birth certificate to obtain the waiver. Their hours are 8:30 am-12 pm or 1:30-4 pm.

– The license is good for 30 days. 
This means that your wedding ceremony must be within 30 days of the purchase date of the license. So, you probably don’t want to be too much of an early bird with this wedding task.

Most officiants will return your marriage license for you.
This is super helpful if you are heading off on your honeymoon directly after your wedding.

– There are a few things you will want to bring along with you: 
1. Proof of identity – Drivers license or birth certificate
2. $27.50 in cash for the marriage license fee – (they do not take bills larger than $20)
3. Optional – your fiancé; you aren’t required to both be present to get your marriage license, unless one of you does not have a social security number – that person will be required to be present. If you happen to both be free, totally make it a date and get the wedding work done then head over to Botsky’s or Pujo Street Cafe for lunch.

Where to go:
The official address is 1000 Ryan Street, but we recommend entering from the back entrance on Pithon Street (the back of the building displayed at the top of this post). Once you enter the Clerk of Court office from Pithon Street (a big brick sign reads “Calcasieu Courthouse”), there will be an elevator to your left that will take you up to the 2nd Floor. Once on the 2nd floor, take a left and walk down until you see a door surrounded by two large white columns. The door reads “Room 5 – H. Lynn Jones, II Clerk of Court.” There are signs listing Marriage Records & Licenses all along the way – which is super helpful! Hours of operation are 8:00 am – 4:30 pm.

How long should you expect to stay?
This really depends on how many people are there. I would say at least plan for 10-30 minutes. You will fill out the application form (if you have not already filled out the form online – we did not have luck getting it to work even with an updated version of Adobe Reader), they will do their magic, and you get your marriage license minutes later to take with you.

– If you have been married previously, you must know the month, day, and year of your divorce or the death of your previous spouse to obtain a new marriage license.

– Corrections can only be made before your ceremony and the fee to do so is $10. NO CORRECTIONS can be made once you are married!
Another reason why timing is very important for this wedding task.

If you need a certified copy of your license after the ceremony, you will need to purchase one from the Clerk of Courts office for $6.

– There is a 3 day waiting period for your license “to take effect,” but this can be waived at the Judges office (if needed).

The marriage ceremony must be performed in the State of Louisiana.
We were very interested in finding out a bit more about this since we know some couples choose to have destination weddings. According to the Clerk of Court you must be married in Louisiana (or docked in Louisiana water) for the marriage license to be valid. If you are married outside of the state, you must file a marriage license for the state you are married in. Your marriage will need to be recorded in Louisiana as well afterward.

Information gathered from the Clerk of Courts website and the helpful ladies in the office.

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