Murphy eases rules for marriage licenses in N.J. during coronavirus pandemic

Posted May 01, 2020

It’s now easier for couples to get marriage licenses and minors to get work papers in New Jersey during the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Friday.

Murphy signed an executive order suspending the requirement for people to obtain those documents in person.

It takes effect Monday.

“Our current public health emergency requires us to adjust our processes to protect public health and safety," the governor said in a statement after announcing the order at his daily press briefing in Trenton. “Even in uncertain times, we must allow important milestones, like marriages or youth seeking their first job, to move forward in a safe, efficient manner.”

Usually, a marriage or civil union must be solemnized in the physical presence of an officiant and two witnesses. But under the order, people may use videoconferencing to that.

It also suspends the 72-hour waiting period between the license application and issuance, extends the period that a license is valid from 30 to 90 days, and waives fees for a second license if the original has expired.

Meanwhile, minors who need to certify their working papers with a school official can now do so via videoconference. School districts are required to craft procedures, according to the order.

The order still allows in-person visits to obtain the documents, as long as social distancing is practiced to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. But the changes are in case offices are closed or there are no officials available in person.

New Jersey, a state of 9 million people, reported 2,651 new positive cases and 311 new related deaths Friday. That brings the statewide total to at least 121,190 cases, including at least 7,538 deaths, among the state’s 9 million residents. Only New York has more cases and deaths among U.S. states.

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