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Marriage Licensing FAQ

No, a faxed application or affidavit will not be accepted to apply for a marriage license. It must be the original, signed, and notarized document for it to be accepted.

Download the marriage license application form (PDF). The party/parties who cannot apply in person must complete their affidavit in front of a notary public. The original application is forwarded to the affiant who can apply in person, or, if both parties are unable to appear, it is forwarded to a third party who can apply for the marriage license on their behalf.

No, simply applying for and obtaining a marriage license does not make you married. A wedding ceremony must take place. The parties must assent or declare, in the physical presence of the officiant solemnizing the marriage and at least two attending witnesses, that they take each other to be spouses.

Please contact the state Department of Health to obtain your marriage certificate. Certificates for converted domestic partnerships are not available through the King County Recorder's Office.

Under no circumstances does Washington state law allow for the validity dates to be waived; however, validity does include the first and last dates listed on the marriage license.

No, under Washington state law, that wedding will not be recognized as legal or official for civil purposes. You will need to purchase a marriage license and have another ceremony within the validity dates of the license, and for civil purposes this date will be your official wedding date.

As long as the relative or friend meets the criteria for wedding officiants described in Washington state law, they can officiate without any further registration with King County or Washington state. For more information, go to Applying for a Marriage License and then click on "Marriage Requirements"

RCW 26.04.050 states who may solemnize a marriage. While it lists a variety of judges and clergy, it does not state that they must be judges or clergy from Washington state.

State law does not specify the age of witnesses; however, the persons are witnessing a civil contract. As such, a witness is deemed "competent" for this purpose usually at the age of 18. If applicants wish to have persons under the age of 18 witness the ceremony, we recommend they have two other witnesses, who are over 18, also observe the exchange of vows and sign the marriage certificates. More than two witnesses may sign the certificates.

It is the responsibility of the officiant, not the couple, to assure that the marriage license forms are prepared, completed, signed, and distributed within 30 days of the wedding. For more information, go to Applying for a Marriage License and then click on "Marriage Requirements"

In most cases, providing a certified copy of your marriage license is enough. However, you should check with each agency for its requirements to change your records. If an agency requires more than a certified copy of your marriage license, check with King County District Court for details on a court-ordered name change.

If you need to obtain certified copies of your marriage license, please visit Obtaining Certified Copies of Your Marriage Certificate.

If you lost or destroyed the forms before the wedding took place, one of the parties to the marriage must return to one of our licensing sites, complete an Affidavit of Loss, and pay $1 to replace each form lost or destroyed.

If the Washington State Department of Health Certificate of Marriage is not recorded with King County within 30 days of the wedding, the couple should first confirm with their wedding officiant that the form was mailed back to King County after the ceremony. If it was returned, contact the King County Recorder's Office for a further check and directions on how to proceed.

Washington state does not require the presentation of a 'single status' or 'no impediment' form.

Should you be getting married in a location that requires a single status or no impediment form, you can request a search by the King County Recorder's Office for marriage records with your name. You will receive a document that states that your name was not found in King County Records for the period of time you have searched. You could also check with the Washington State Center for Health Statistics for a search of state-recorded marriage certificates.

You can search for and locate all marriage certificates (for years 1855-1989) and marriage returns (for years 1891-1947) at the Washington State Digital Archives. For additional help in locating marriages not in the index, or other types of marriage records, please contact the King County Archives.

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Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) FAQ

Install the latest version of Adobe Reader (external link). If you still have problems, you can select 'Print As Image' when you print the document. It will take a little longer but will almost always print correctly.
This is a user selection on your computer the same as any other document you may print. Check your computer or printer manual to learn how to select paper size. You need to have legal sized paper (8.5 x 14) available in your printer.
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Record a document FAQ

King County cannot give legal advice. You may want to contact an attorney or title company for this information.

When adding someone to a title, or changing names on a title, people will generally record a conveyance document/deed. You can get blank legal documents at a stationery or office supply store. It needs to be completed and notarized, please note the recorder’s office cannot help with filling out your Deed. In addition to that, you will need to complete a Real Estate Excise Tax Affidavit and depending on the type of transaction, you may also need an Excise Tax Supplemental Statement. Please carefully review the Supplemental Statement which determines whether or not your transaction is taxable.

Once completed, you would bring these forms in to be processed and recorded. Our fees, hours of operation, and location can be found on our website. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney. You can also contact a title insurance company for assistance.

Many office supply and stationery stores carry common forms, or you can also use an Internet search and download forms. Be aware though that some forms may not meet Washington State standards for size, clarity, or other characteristics.

You can obtain blank Quit Claim Deed forms from office supply stores and some websites. The turnaround time can vary depending on how the document is presented to us. To view costs, visit our fees page.

Washington State Dept. of Revenue allows certain exemption to deed transfers. On the King County Recorder’s website, you can go to On-line Forms and find the link to WAC Dept. of Revenue exemption code that may apply to your transaction. Pay attention to required documentation with certain excise.
In certain cases we may be able to record your document; however you will be paying an additional $50 non-compliance fee, in addition to other recording cost. Fill out and sign a King County Recorder’s cover sheet with your recording.
The Recorder’s Office has a responsibility to record all documents presented for recording provided they meet formatting and legibility requirements and that critical indexing information is present. Various documents have different requirements for the legal functioning. Some require notarization of signatures and some do not. The Recorder’s Office cannot guide you in the legal requirements of your specific documents. It is recommended that you research and review your documents carefully before submitting them for recording. If you need assistance in preparing your documents you should consult with an attorney.
By law the Recorder’s Office can only check to ensure that your document meets the State’s formatting and legibility standards, and that critical indexing information required by statute is present on the first page. If the formatting is not correct, or if some of the indexing information cannot be found, you may be required to fill out a coversheet for your document. The Recorder’s Office cannot verify the accuracy or effectiveness of the information within your documents.
Careful review of the contents of legal documents is the responsibility of the submitter. The Recorder’s Office is only responsible for ensuring that state mandated formatting and legibility requirements are met. Remember, once recorded to the public record, your document is permanent and cannot be removed or changed. We highly recommend that you consult an attorney when recording legal documents.
Once recorded, your document is part of the permanent public record and cannot be removed or changed. If you’ve made an error that needs to be corrected, you will need to re-record your document. You will need to present the original, or a certified copy of the original with the correction made and a declaration on the first page stating the correction. For example, “Re-recorded to correct legal description”. The document will be recorded, assigned a new recording number, and cross referenced to the original recording. A new recording fee is required when re-recording.

A Multiple Title Document is a single document that contains more than one transaction, where each transaction could stand on its own and require separate entries in our database. Per RCW 36.18.010 each transaction in a single document that meets this definition requires a separate recording fee.

For example, a Substitution of Trustee and Full Reconveyance document is a multiple title document. There are two transactions, and each could stand on its own as a separate document… the Subsitution of Trustee replaces the existing trustee and could be a document by itself, the Full Reconveyance releases a Deed of Trust and could be a document by itself. Therefore, this document would need one additional recording fee at the time of submission.

Another example could be a lien that is submitted against 10 different parcel numbers. The Recorder’s Office would need to determine if this is one transaction with all 10 parcels included, or 10 separate transactions involving each of the parcel’s separately.

You can help ease the confusion of Multiple Title Documents by being very clear about what the intent of your document is, and how many actions it contains.

The Recorder’s Office follows a 6 step procedure in reviewing documents that could potentially have multiple transactions that require additional recording fees.

  1. Is the title of the document clearly more than one transaction?
  2. Is the document title already on our established list of multiple transaction documents?
  3. Can the elements of the title stand on their own as separate document types?
  4. Is the document parcel focused? Reference number focused? Neither? Both?
  5. Depending on the answer to #4, are there multiple parties, parcel numbers, or reference numbers present in the document?
  6. What is the document trying to accomplish?

The answers to these questions inform our employees of what the intent of the document is, and they must make the decision if additional recording fees are required. You can help make the recording process more timely and accurate by ensuring that your document has a clear and understandable title, and that you are clearly communicating the full intent of the document either through the title, or in an instructional sheet submitted with the document.

Due to costs, King County has no plans at this time to scan older documents. Requests for these documents are small compared to requests for more recent documents.
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Records Search FAQ

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Request a Copy FAQ

Please click here to obtain certified copies of a marriage certificate.

For information regarding such copies, please click here to be redirected to the King County Superior Court Records for more information.

For information regarding such copies, please click here to be redirected to the King County Vital Statistics for more information.

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