Lawrence County residents wanting to wed in Pennsylvania cannot get a marriage license unless they make an appointment with the Mercer County clerk of courts office.

Like most courthouses in the area, Lawrence County’s is closed to the public, meaning people cannot enter the prothonotary/clerk of courts office to get their license, explained Prothontary and Clerk of Courts Jodi Klabon-Esoldo.

Last week, though, Mercer County began issuing marriage licenses by appointment only, after installing Plexiglass sneeze guards, according to Mary Jo DiPreta, Mercer County clerk of courts. She added that prior to that, no county clerk of courts offices were issuing the licenses because of COVID-19.

All that will change again June 1, when the Lawrence County courthouse is expected to reopen to the public, Klabon-Esoldo said. At that time, she will begin scheduling people by appointment only, for marriage licenses and passports, to avoid lengthy transactions and people waiting in lines.

People wanting marriage licenses at that time are encouraged to fill out the marriage license request form in advance. The form is available on the county website at co.lawrence.pa.us, by clicking on the Prothonotary site, then clicking on marriage licenses at the far right of the screen. The terms of issuing licenses and the form are available in that text, near the bottom of the page.

After June 1, the applicants need only go into the prothonotary’s office at the time of their appointment and present their check and driver’s licenses or photo ID or passport, and signatures. Social Security numbers will be requested.

The process at the appointment will take less than five minutes, Klabon-Esoldo said, adding that appointments can be made by calling her office at (724) 656-2440. 

Klabon-Esoldo noted that a similar appointment process will be put into place for passports. However, travel out of the United States is essentially banned for the time being.

The U.S. Department of State on March 19 issued a Level 4, “do not travel” advisory, recommending that U.S. citizens refrain from any global travel, according to information from various online sources. That is the highest travel advisory the department can issue, and while it is not an order, the advisory came as a harsh warning because of the contagious killer virus.

According to information from the prothonotary’s office on the county website, these conditions also apply to getting a marriage license:

•Licenses obtained in Pennsylvania are only legal in Pennsylvania and not in any other state.

•Upon applying, there is a three-day waiting period.

•Licenses are only good for 60 days from the date of issue.

•Any applicant who are divorced must furnish a certified copy of the Decree of Divorce dissolving the marriage. A certified copy of the decree issued by the courts has a seal. Certified copies of divorce decrees may be obtained by contacting the Family Division of the Court in which the decree was granted. A widow or widower must provide a certified copy of the spouse’s death certificate.

•Effective July 1, 2020, applicants must be 18 or older to apply for a marriage license. Until then, consent of a parent or guardian is required for anyone between 16 and 18 years old.

dwachter@ncnewsonline.com

Reporter

Debbie's been a journalist at the New Castle News since 1978, and covers county government, police and fire, New Castle schools, environment and various other realms. She also writes features, takes photos and video and copy edits.

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