New Hampshire Marriage Laws: Traditional and Same-Sex

New Hampshire marriage requirements, plus information on common-law marriage, same-sex marriage, and civil unions.

What are the requirements for getting legally married in New Hampshire?

New Hampshire does not require a blood test before a marriage license will be issued. You can marry immediately after your marriage license is issued, and your license is good for 90 days after it's issued. After that time, you'll have to get a new one before you can marry.

In New Hampshire, as in most states, you must be of the age of consent, not be too closely related to your intended spouse, not be married to anyone else, and have sufficient "mental capacity," meaning you understand what you are doing when you marry.

Does New Hampshire have common-law marriage?

In New Hampshire, common law marriage is recognized only for the purpose of inheritance. If you meet the criteria for common law marriage in New Hampshire, your spouse will have some rights to inherit from you, but you are not considered legally married otherwise. If you need more information about common law marriage and inheritance in New Hampshire, consult an attorney.

Does New Hampshire have same-sex marriage?

As of January 2010, New Hampshire will allow same-sex couples to marry under the same laws that apply to heterosexual couples. However, the federal government will not recognize same-sex marriages entered into in Maine.

Until the law goes into effect on January 1, 2010, New Hampshire residents can still enter into civil unions, but when the new law takes effect the civil union relationship will no longer be available. Couples in existing civil unions can convert the civil union to a marriage (with no payment of additional fees or requirement of a new license). If they don't do that--or dissolve their relationship--they'll be deemed married as of January 1, 2011.

The current law allows same-sex couples to creates a civil union with all the same rights and responsibilities as married people for purposes of state law. Federal law doesn't recognize civil unions.

Learn about the proper legal steps to define and protect your relationship in the eyes of the law with Living Together: A Legal Guide, by Ralph Warner, Toni Ihara, and Frederick Hertz (Nolo), or Legal Guide for Lesbian & Gay Couples, by Denis Clifford, Frederick Hertz, and Emily Doskow (Nolo).

Learn about the current status of same-sex marriage across the U.S. and around the world in Making it Legal: A Guide to Same-Sex Marriage, Domestic Partnerships & Civil Unions, by Frederick Hertz and Emily Doskow (Nolo).

Last updated 06/17/09.

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