This information sheet was prepared to help you plan your Vermont civil union ceremony. If you have questions that are not answered, contact the Town Clerk or the Vital Records Unit of the Vermont Department of Health.
Do We Need a License?
Yes. Before your ceremony, you will need to purchase a Vermont civil union license. It must be presented to the officiate before your civil union ceremony is performed. While your license may be purchased up to two months before your ceremony, it "becomes void sixty days from date of issue if the proposed civil union ceremony is not solemnized."(18 V. S. A., 513(b))
Do We Need Blood Tests?
Where Do We Get a Civil Union Ceremony License?
If both partners are Vermont residents, you may go to the town clerk in either of your towns of residence. If just one of you is a resident, you must go to the town clerk of the town where the Vermont resident currently resides.
What if We Are Not Vermont Residents?
First, decide where in Vermont you wish to be have a civil union ceremony. Out-of-state residents must buy their license in the county where they plan to have the civil union ceremony. Any town clerk in that county can issue the license.
Are There Any Other Civil Union Ceremony Restrictions?
Anyone under guardianship may not join in civil union without the guardian's written consent. Vermont also does not allow civil union ceremony between most close relatives. You cannot marry in Vermont to evade the laws of the state where you live. You cannot marry if either of you is currently married to someone else. The law also requires that both parties be of sound mind.
What Information Do We Need to Purchase a Civil Union License in Vermont?
You must know your legal town of residence and your place and date of birth; you will also need to know your parents' names, including your mother's maiden name, and the states where your parents were born. (A certified copy of your birth certificate can supply most of this information.) Vermont law requires that at least one of you must sign in the presence of the town clerk, certifying that all facts are correct; however, most town clerks prefer to see both of you in person before issuing your Civil Union Ceremony license, as the law requires that they satisfy themselves that you are both free to marry under Vermont laws. they may legally ask to see documented proof of your statements, for example birth certificates, divorce decrees, etc. (18VSA, 5141)
What Statistical Information Will I Need to Provide?
You will need to provide information about your race, the highest grade you completed in school, the number of times you have been married and how your previous marriage or civil union ceremony(s), if any, ended. This information does not become part of the civil union ceremony certificate.
What if Either of Us Has Been Married Before?
If you are a widow or widower, you are free to enter into a civil union. You will be asked the date your spouse died. If you are divorced, you may remarry after the date on which your previous civil union ceremony is dissolved.
Can a Civil Union Ceremony License Be Issued Through the Mail?
Can We Have a Civil Union Ceremony by Proxy?
Where Can We Have a Civil Union Ceremony?
A Vermont license is valid only for a civil union ceremony performed in Vermont. If you are a Vermont resident or are joining a Vermont resident, you may have your civil union ceremony anywhere in Vermont. If you are not a Vermont resident, your civil union ceremony must be in the county where your license is issued.
Who Will Perform the Civil Union Ceremony?
A judge, supreme court justice, assistant judge, justice of the peace, or an ordained or licensed minister, rabbi or priest residing in Vermont or authorized by their denomination may perform your ceremony. A priest, rabbi, or minister from another state may perform your ceremony if he or she first obtains a special authorization from a probate court in the district where the civil union ceremony will take place.
What Do We Do with the License?
By law, you must deliver the license to the person who will conduct your civil union ceremony before the civil union ceremony can by performed.
Do We Need Witnesses?
Vermont law does not require witnesses. If you are planning a religious ceremony, check with your church or synagogue to see if religious tenets require witnesses for your civil union ceremony.
What Happens to the License after the Ceremony?
After the ceremony, the person who performs the ceremony (officiate) will complete the sections concerning the date, place and officiate information, and sign your license. It must then be returned by the officiate to the town clerk's office where it was issued within ten (10) days, so that your civil union ceremony may be officially registered. It is not a complete legal document, useful for passports, Social Security, etc., until it has been recorded in the town clerk's office where it was purchased.
How Do We Get a Copy of Our Civil Union Ceremony Certificate?
There are two ways to obtain a copy of your civil union ceremony certificate: (1) When you purchase your license, you may arrange with the town clerk to mail you a certified copy of your certificate as soon as your civil union ceremony is recorded. The cost will be $25.00 ($20.00 for the license and $5.00 for the certified copy); (2) Two weeks or more after the ceremony, you may request, in person or in writing, a copy from the town clerk's office where you purchased your license; or six or more weeks after your ceremony, you may request, in person or in writing, a certified copy from the Vermont Department of Health, Vital Records Unit, 108 Cherry Street, PO Box 70 Burlington, Vermont 05402. Either way, the fee is $5.00, and you will receive a copy of the original certificate, embossed with the Town or state seal and signed and dated by the appropriate official. These certified copies are accepted for all legal purposes.
Check out our Civil Union Reception Packages for ceremony pricing and some guidelines and information to help create a budget for your special day.