A marriage affidavit is generally used to provide proof of a legal union between two people. There are different types of these affidavits, but in general they require at least one witness to provide sworn testimony to the legality of the marriage. In some cases, two witnesses are needed — one for each of the parties involved. All parties must be present when the affidavit is signed.
In some cases, a marriage affidavit is completed at a courthouse. Someone will appear as a witness and swear that both people are legally allowed to get married. If the couple's age is in question, a parent may serve as a witness. In this scenario, the witness must also swear that no obstacles exist that could prohibit the marriage.
The marriage affidavit serves as a state-recognized legal document. Requirements for a marriage affidavit may vary from state to state. For example, states that recognize common law marriages often require that couples fill out a common law affidavit of marriage form in order to qualify as a married couple. In this case, two witnesses aware of the common law relationship must be present. The information required in this form includes the full names and addresses of the married couple, the relationship of the witnesses to the couple, and how the witnesses acquired knowledge of the common law relationship.
Sometimes, more detailed information is required to complete an affidavit. The couple may be required to certify that neither is married to another person, that they are not related, that each is legally competent and mentally able to make a decision about marriage, and that the couple will share living expenses. A notary public is often a witness to the signing of the affidavit.
A marriage affidavit is sometimes used in companies to show proof of a marriage. This can be done if a marriage certificate is, for some reason, not available. Often, this is required if the company offers benefits to the employee and the spouse. The affidavit can serve as proof that the marriage is legal so that the spouse can receive benefits.
The most important part of a marriage affidavit is the signatures of the couple and the witnesses. These signatures make the agreement binding. If the affidavit contains falsehoods, both the couple and the witnesses may face legal charges.