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Love in the time of coronavirus: Maryland will allow marriage applications by mail, email to avoid courthouse visits

Couples planning weddings in Maryland can now apply for marriage licenses by email, mail or at a courthouse dropbox as courthouses across the state remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“By removing the in-person marriage license application requirement, circuit courts will now be able to process marriage licenses by mail or remotely, which will be a great benefit to couples who have had to cancel or alter their wedding plans due to the COVID-19 emergency,” Charlene M. Notarcola, clerk of the court, Circuit Court for Cecil County, who also serves as chair of the Conference of Circuit Court Clerks, said in a statement Friday.

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Before the pandemic, couples were required to fill out applications in person.

The one-page application, which requires couples to provide personal information to the court such as Social Security numbers and any past marriages, is mandatory for couples to have their marriages recognized by the state. Anyone submitting applications by email should not include Social Security numbers, the statement said, adding that applicants will later have to provide Social Security numbers by phone or video conference.

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Information included in the applications must be sworn under oath either before the clerk, either by video conferencing or by an affidavit included with the application. For information about payments, couples should contact the circuit court clerk in the jurisdiction where their marriage will take place.

“Circuit court judges, clerks, and staff are continuing to find innovative ways to incorporate remote processes into daily operations, which now includes marriage license applications,” Judge Laura Ripken, administrative judge, Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County and the Fifth Judicial Circuit, and chair of the Conference of Circuit Court Judges, said in a statement.

Notarcola said clerks statewide are preparing for eventual reopening of the court and "will have protective barriers at counters as well as health and safety supplies for staff, including disinfecting wipes, masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer, along with the ability for court visitors and staff to remain socially distant while at local clerk’s offices.”

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