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Evidence of Ceremonial Marriage

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at


1716. Evidence of Ceremonial Marriage

1716.1 How do you prove a ceremonial marriage?

You prove a ceremonial marriage by providing:

  1. A certified copy of the public record of the marriage;

  2. A certified copy of the religious record of the marriage; or

  3. The original marriage certificate.

1716.2 Is any other evidence acceptable?

We prefer the types of evidence listed above. If none of this evidence is available, you may submit the following types of evidence:

  1. A signed statement from a member of the clergy or public official who performed the marriage; or

  2. Other evidence of investigative value, e.g., statements of witnesses, newspaper accounts, photos taken of the ceremony.

In some cases, evidence obtained for other purposes may also serve as evidence of marriage. You must provide statements concerning certain details of your marriage and document the fact that the preferred proofs are not available.

Last Revised: March, 2001


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