Sussex County zooms into marriage licensing

Governor’s order clears way for videconference processing
April 27, 2020

Anyone who wants a marriage license in Sussex County can now apply using Zoom videoconferencing.

On April 23, in the 12th modification of his state of emergency order, Gov. John Carney waived a state law requiring couples to appear in person at county marriage bureaus.

Sussex County Marriage Bureau began Zoom applications April 24. The new process is quickly taking care of about 60 backlogged applications, said Clerk of the Peace Norman “Jay” Jones.

The office remains closed and cannot perform marriage ceremonies. Jones said couples must have an officiant and ceremony scheduled; licenses are valid for 30 days.

“It's taking a little longer because of the new process,” Jones said. “But we have streamlined it as much as possible.”

He said the process starts when a couple contacts the marriage bureau by phone or through the county website. Once paperwork is completed, the office schedules a 10-minute Zoom conference and then mails the marriage license in about two days. The conference can also be conducted in Spanish.

“We've been under a partial shutdown, with no one allowed in the building,” Jones said. “But we've never closed 100 percent. We've been doing work over the internet and have been providing certified copies of documents.”

Jones said the office maintains an ongoing list of couples wanting to schedule a ceremony with county marriage bureau staff.

The office closed to the public March 18 when most other Sussex County offices shut down due to COVID-19 social-distancing restrictions. For more information, phone 853-1717.

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