Justice of the Peace Updates

Just like with all State and Federal Licenses and Certificates there is a time for all CT Justice of the Peace to have their refresher and take their oath in the town to which they are certified, and that time is now. A Certified Justice of the Peace in the State of CT has a term the same amount of time as that of that of the President of the United States, which is four years. This term officially starts on January 3, 2017 and ends on January 4, 2021. In order to be relieved of your duties you must either Resign, Move from your Town, or Pass Away. This week the Town of Hamden started to hold their required informational update and I wanted to share with you some old and one BIG new update presented from the Town on the State Level.
Here are the five top tips for you to consider, courtesy of Lisa:


1. Who can perform my ceremony?
Until this year individual’s that were Ordained Online were NOT allowed to perform marriages in the State of CT, unless they were continuing to work in the ministry above and beyond the marriage that they performed, in full the previous Statute Read:
Sec. 46b-22. (Formerly Sec. 46-3). Who may join persons in marriage. Penalty for unauthorized performance. (a) All judges and retired judges, either elected or appointed and including federal judges and judges of other states who may legally join persons in marriage in their jurisdictions, family support magistrates, state referees and justices of the peace may join persons in marriage in any town in the state and all ordained or licensed clergymen, belonging to this state or any other state, so long as they continue in the work of the ministry may join persons in marriage. All marriages solemnized according to the forms and usages of any religious denomination in this state, including marriages witnessed by a duly constituted Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is, are valid. All marriages attempted to be celebrated by any other person are void.

However, the Current Statute has now been updated and States:
Section. 46b-22. (Formerly Sec. 46-3). Who may join persons in marriage. Penalty for unauthorized performance.(a) Persons authorized to solemnize marriages in this state include (1) all judges and retiredjudges, either elected or appointed, including federal judges and judges of other states who may legally join persons in marriage in their jurisdictions, (2) family support magistrates, state referees and justices of the peace who are appointed in Connecticut, and (3) all ordained or licensed members of the clergy, belonging to this state or any other state. All marriages solemnized according to the forms and usages of any religious denomination in this state, including marriages witnessed by a duly constituted Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is, are valid. All marriages attempted to be celebrated by any other person are void.
You will notice the line “so long as they continue in the work of the ministry may join persons in marriage” has now been removed, making it legal for those ordained online to perform a Ceremony in CT.

So as of the current laws authorized officiants include:
A. Connecticut justices of the peace;
B. Ordained or licensed clergy
C. Judges and retired judges;
D. Family support magistrates;
E. State referees.
As lovely as it is to have a friend or relative perform your ceremony, it is important to note that those that perform ceremonies often, do have a level of professionalism and skill for the legal paper work required by the state. Be aware, those that perform a ceremony ONCE and never again as they have been ordained for family or friend online are MORE LIKLEY to incorrectly file your license, so please make sure they are in contact with the Town to ensure they return the license correctly filled out to every detail and in the timely fashion the town would require.


2. How much does a Justice of the Peace cost in Connecticut?
As reported previously, there is no set fee for a justice of the peace cost in Connecticut. In other words, the JP sets their own fee. This can be based on number of meetings, the time to create your one-of-kind wedding ceremony, location of the wedding ceremony, etc. In the end this number can be different and is not an “industry standard.”


3. What do you need to know about applying for your marriage license? 
Your marriage license must applied for in the town in which you are going to have the ceremony performed, and the couple must be present to apply at the same time. My suggestion is always to go to the town website in which you are being married for the most current town information. For example:
If you are getting married in Hamden.
Go to the town website as this explains everything you need to know and who you need to see in order to get your license, including fees, the expiration of a license, and more.
Also and super important, some venues or parks are not where you think they are. Literally, for example the Pardee Rose Garden sits on property in both Hamden and New Haven. So make sure you are doing your homework and receive a license from the correct town.
A Marriage License will cost you $30.00, this is a state mandated fee.
B. You may pay for a copy of your license to be provided to you for $20.00, again a state mandated fee.
C. You MUST present valid ID to the Town when applying for your marriage license and you are also asked to prove your identity again to whomever is performing your ceremony by again presenting them with valid license, this is becoming a very strict policy and is even getting the attention of the FBI and Homeland Security, so be prepared to have your ID on your wedding day!
D. You are not required to present any divorce papers to the Town when applying but you will be held responsible for committing Fraud if you are not legally divorced.


4. What are some important facts about getting married in Connecticut? 
A. Does a marriage license expire? Yes it does! So again make sure you understand what the time frame (65 days) is to which you must be married after you obtain your license.
B. Do I need rings to get married in Connecticut? No, wedding rings are not part of the valid Connecticut wedding ceremony.
C. Do we need a blood test? No, there is not blood test required, this went into effect in 2003.
D. Do we need to have witnesses? No, there is no legal need for witnesses to be present at your wedding ceremony.
E. Couples must appear in person, you cannot facetime or video chat your wedding, in person only!
F. As you are probably aware gay marriage was legalized in 2008, if you have your Civil Union prior to then you may go to the Town Hall to have that updated to a Legal Marriage. Also, a Justice of the Peace is legally obligated to perform a Gay Marriage; you may not be turned away due to any personal beliefs.


5. Chain of Command
This information has not changed and is very important, your justice of the peace, or anybody that is performing your wedding ceremony, is required by law to take your marriage license and personally mail it or hand-deliver to back to the town official from which you received your license. They do not give it back to you for mailing, this is a proper chain of command, they should always mailed back the very next business day to ensure a timely delivery.
Should you have any further questions about the do’s and don’ts to having a wedding ceremony in CT do not hesitate to ask! Remember the Wedding Ceremony is the most important part of the day, it is why all your fabulous friends and relatives have come together to see you legally be pronounced married.


For more information, contact Antonecchia at Creative Concepts by Lisa, Events www.creativeconceptsbylisact.com

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