NEW RULES FOR MARRIAGE
April 24, 2012 § 2 Comments
Governor Bryant signed into law SB 2851, which makes some sweeping changes in how one applies for and obtains a marriage license in Mississippi. You can read the new law here for yourself.
The law, which takes effect July 1, 2012, changes much of MCA § 93-1-5. The new law clarifies the age limitations to provide that any male 17 years and older, and any female 15 years and older, may apply for a marriage license, provided that they have parental consent or have an order of a circuit, chancery or county court judge waiving the requirement.
Other changes: the three-day waiting period is eliminated, as is the requirement for a blood test for syphilis. You may not obtain a marriage license if it appears to the circuit clerk that you are intoxicated, or are suffering from mental illness or intellectual disability to the extent that you do not understand the nature and consequences of the application for a marriage license (there’s a lot I could say about this last provision, but I’ll let it go for now).
MCA § 93-1-7 is repealed. That is the section that provided the right of “any interested party” to contest issuance of a marriage license.
The biggest change here, of course, is elimination of the waiting period and blood test. Those two requirements in combination sent many a couple here in east Mississippi scurrying off to Alabama to tie the knot on impulse. Now they have no reason to run off somewhere else.
What impact will this have on the divorce rate? Too soon to say for sure. My own purely opinionated, unscientific guess is that most marriages that are entered into without much thought and reflection beforehand are marriages that don’t last too long. That being said, I don’t think the three-day waiting period accomplished much in the way of time for thought and reflection anyway. Besides, for couples who are “hotter than a pepper sprout,” like the song says, could hop over the line to Alabama and “get married in a fever” no matter what Mississippi law required. All in all, I think these changes eliminate some requirements that were outmoded in the 21st century and we can do without.