One of the most frequently asked questions relates to the availability of marriage records in New York and whether they are public records.
The short (over)simplified answer is no, they are not public records.
The term “public record” (at least my definition) implies that the record is open to the public and can be obtained by anyone with few or no restrictions. If that is how you define public record, then the simple answer is no, marriage records are not publicly available.
They may be available, however, if one of the following applies:
- You are a party to the marriage.
- The records are more than 50 years old, and both spouses are known to be deceased.
- You have a legal court order or other legal reason (i.e., an estate matter) to obtain the record.
If your reason for requesting a marriage record does not fit one of those categories, it is not a matter of public record.
If you are a party to the marriage…
…and you need a copy of a marriage certificate for someone who was married outside one of New York City’s five boroughs, you can make a request to the New York Department of Health.
If the marriage took place within one of New York …read more