Did you know that Florida offers several perks to couples who take a Florida premarital course as part of their pre-wedding preparations?
They do! We’ll tell you about them here and also provide you with several tips to help you avoid problems with getting those perks when you’re applying for your Florida marriage license.
Before getting married in Florida, you will need to apply for and get a marriage license in any Florida county. The license is only valid for 60 days, so make sure you obtain it and marry within that time frame. You don’t have to get married in the county where you obtain the marriage license though, because the marriage license can be used in any Florida county. After the wedding, your wedding Officiant just needs to submit your completed and signed marriage license back to the county where you obtained it.
Florida resident couples who plan to marry in Florida qualify for a discount on their marriage license fees of $32.50 if they show proof of having taken an approved premarital preparation course. As an added bonus, the state will also allow them to waive the usual Florida marriage license 3 day waiting period.
However, a few couples may experience challenges with getting these perks when they go to the County Marriage License offices or when talking with the clerks if they are not properly prepared. To help you avoid any difficulties, follow these suggestions.
1. Complete your Florida premarital course within one year of the date you apply for your marriage license.
2. Verify that the Florida premarital course provider is registered/approved (listed as a provider) in the county where you will apply for your marriage license (“your county”). There are only certain types of providers that are authorized to provide premarital counseling services or premarital preparation courses by Florida Statute. However, it is not enough to use the services of one of those licensed professionals or clergy. The provider, their program, or their Church organization also must be registered/approved in your county.
- Check with the provider’s website, send them an email, or call them to ask if they are a provider for your county.
- As a further check, contact the county directly. Go to their online listing of providers if they have one, or call their marriage license department to make sure they can find the provider on their list. Please note that the provider may be listed in some counties under one or another of the following possibilities for the name: provider’s name, instructor’s name, company’s name or church name. Because of this, and sometimes due to errors with spelling a name, it can sometimes be tricky for some clerks to locate any particular provider’s name. If you are prepared ahead of time and know what name to use or what page number on an online list your provider is found on, then things are likely to go smoothly at the marriage license office.
- In a rare scenario of a clerk still being unable to locate your provider’s information, note the clerk’s name for future reference, and we suggest you speak with a supervisor, and/or call your premarital course provider to ask for their assistance. They can often help to resolve the issue.
3. Take printed copies of your Certificates of Completion from taking an online Florida premarital course, or take original Certificates for each of you to the marriage license office. Most Florida counties will take a printout/copy of the certificates. Just a few counties in Florida state that they require original certificates. Be sure to find out if you are getting a marriage license from a county that requires an original Certificate so that you can arrange to get an original Certificate, if needed. (Although we’ve heard of a few couples who have presented a printed out copy of their digital certificates and obtained their marriage license without incident even though they were told they needed to present an original certificate- to be on the safe side- we suggest that if they say they want an original certificate, take an original certificate).
4. If you are short on time, consider this other idea. You can apply for a marriage license from a neighboring county that accepts a printed out/copy of the Certificate of Completion instead of a county that requires an original certificate. Your provider or the county directly should be able to tell you which type of Certificate of Completion they require.
Envision Love, LLC (also known as FLPremaritalCourse.com) is listed as a provider in most counties of Florida. We are found on county provider lists using either our instructor name Elizabeth Hekimian-Williams or using our company name Envision Love, LLC. Go to http://FLPremaritalCourse.com to find out more and to enroll in our Florida premarital course. You will not only get the perks of learning how to have a successful marriage, but also get the perks that the state of Florida offers you!