Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
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Marriage Licensing FAQ
No, a faxed application or affidavit will not be accepted to apply for a marriage license. It must be the original, signed, and notarized document for it to be accepted.
Download the marriage license application form (PDF). The party/parties who cannot apply in person must complete their affidavit in front of a notary public. The original application is forwarded to the affiant who can apply in person, or, if both parties are unable to appear, it is forwarded to a third party who can apply for the marriage license on their behalf.
No, simply applying for and obtaining a marriage license does not make you married. A wedding ceremony must take place. The parties must assent or declare, in the physical presence of the officiant solemnizing the marriage and at least two attending witnesses, that they take each other to be spouses.
Please contact the state Department of Health to obtain your marriage certificate. Certificates for converted domestic partnerships are not available through the King County Recorder's Office.
Under no circumstances does Washington state law allow for the validity dates to be waived; however, validity does include the first and last dates listed on the marriage license.
For more information, go to Applying for a Marriage License and then click on "Marriage Requirements"
No, under Washington state law, that wedding will not be recognized as legal or official for civil purposes. You will need to purchase a marriage license and have another ceremony within the validity dates of the license, and for civil purposes this date will be your official wedding date.
As long as the relative or friend meets the criteria for wedding officiants described in Washington state law, they can officiate without any further registration with King County or Washington state. For more information, go to Applying for a Marriage License and then click on "Marriage Requirements"
RCW 26.04.050 states who may solemnize a marriage. While it lists a variety of judges and clergy, it does not state that they must be judges or clergy from Washington state.
State law does not specify the age of witnesses; however, the persons are witnessing a civil contract. As such, a witness is deemed "competent" for this purpose usually at the age of 18. If applicants wish to have persons under the age of 18 witness the ceremony, we recommend they have two other witnesses, who are over 18, also observe the exchange of vows and sign the marriage certificates. More than two witnesses may sign the certificates.
It is the responsibility of the officiant, not the couple, to assure that the marriage license forms are prepared, completed, signed, and distributed within 30 days of the wedding. For more information, go to Applying for a Marriage License and then click on "Marriage Requirements"
In most cases, providing a certified copy of your marriage license is enough. However, you should check with each agency for its requirements to change your records. If an agency requires more than a certified copy of your marriage license, check with King County District Court for details on a court-ordered name change.
If you need to obtain certified copies of your marriage license, please visit Obtaining Certified Copies of Your Marriage Certificate.
If you lost or destroyed the forms before the wedding took place, one of the parties to the marriage must return to one of our licensing sites, complete an Affidavit of Loss, and pay $1 to replace each form lost or destroyed.
If the Washington State Department of Health Certificate of Marriage is not recorded with King County within 30 days of the wedding, the couple should first confirm with their wedding officiant that the form was mailed back to King County after the ceremony. If it was returned, contact the King County Recorder's Office for a further check and directions on how to proceed.
Please visit the Washington Secretary of State's website to learn about Apostilles.
Washington state does not require the presentation of a 'single status' or 'no impediment' form.
Should you be getting married in a location that requires a single status or no impediment form, you can request a search by the King County Recorder's Office for marriage records with your name. You will receive a document that states that your name was not found in King County Records for the period of time you have searched. You could also check with the Washington State Center for Health Statistics for a search of state-recorded marriage certificates.
Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) FAQ
Record a document FAQ
King County cannot give legal advice. You may want to contact an attorney or title company for this information.
When adding someone to a title, or changing names on a title, people will generally record a conveyance document/deed. You can get blank legal documents at a stationery or office supply store. It needs to be completed and notarized, please note the recorder’s office cannot help with filling out your Deed. In addition to that, you will need to complete a Real Estate Excise Tax Affidavit and depending on the type of transaction, you may also need an Excise Tax Supplemental Statement. Please carefully review the Supplemental Statement which determines whether or not your transaction is taxable.
Once completed, you would bring these forms in to be processed and recorded. Our fees, hours of operation, and location can be found on our website. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney. You can also contact a title insurance company for assistance.
Many office supply and stationery stores carry common forms, or you can also use an Internet search and download forms. Be aware though that some forms may not meet Washington State standards for size, clarity, or other characteristics.
You can obtain blank Quit Claim Deed forms from office supply stores and some websites. The turnaround time can vary depending on how the document is presented to us. To view costs, visit our fees page.
A Multiple Title Document is a single document that contains more than one transaction, where each transaction could stand on its own and require separate entries in our database. Per RCW 36.18.010 each transaction in a single document that meets this definition requires a separate recording fee.
For example, a Substitution of Trustee and Full Reconveyance document is a multiple title document. There are two transactions, and each could stand on its own as a separate document… the Subsitution of Trustee replaces the existing trustee and could be a document by itself, the Full Reconveyance releases a Deed of Trust and could be a document by itself. Therefore, this document would need one additional recording fee at the time of submission.
Another example could be a lien that is submitted against 10 different parcel numbers. The Recorder’s Office would need to determine if this is one transaction with all 10 parcels included, or 10 separate transactions involving each of the parcel’s separately.
You can help ease the confusion of Multiple Title Documents by being very clear about what the intent of your document is, and how many actions it contains.
The Recorder’s Office follows a 6 step procedure in reviewing documents that could potentially have multiple transactions that require additional recording fees.
- Is the title of the document clearly more than one transaction?
- Is the document title already on our established list of multiple transaction documents?
- Can the elements of the title stand on their own as separate document types?
- Is the document parcel focused? Reference number focused? Neither? Both?
- Depending on the answer to #4, are there multiple parties, parcel numbers, or reference numbers present in the document?
- What is the document trying to accomplish?
The answers to these questions inform our employees of what the intent of the document is, and they must make the decision if additional recording fees are required. You can help make the recording process more timely and accurate by ensuring that your document has a clear and understandable title, and that you are clearly communicating the full intent of the document either through the title, or in an instructional sheet submitted with the document.
Records Search FAQ
Our system does not maintain an address field. Our index is by name (Grantor/Grantee), instrument number and property tax parcel number.
If you have an address you can search for the parcel number or other property details using King County Parcel Viewer located on the King County Department of Assessments.
Depending on when the document was recorded, there may not be any information available online. Our online index only covers the period from 1976 to present. Images of documents are available from 1991 to present.
Indexes prior to 1976 and images prior to 1991 are on microfilm and must be requested from the King County Archives.
- Make sure your computer or device meets minimum system requirements.
- Cookies must be enabled, at least per session.
- If you are able to get to the Legal Acceptance page but after clicking 'Accept' you get a message that the page cannot be displayed or are instead redirected to the 'Declined' page, check for cookie support. You may need to adjust your browser's security settings or add our Records Search site (22.214.171.124) to your trusted sites list.
- To view online PDF forms and standards, you need to download and install Adobe Reader. To view document images, you need an image viewer for the image format you choose. For the PDF version, you will need Adobe Reader. For the TIF version, you can use most standard image viewers.
- Are other people in your area able to access Records Search? If so, the problem is with your computer. Try the tips listed above, reset your router and/or modem, or contact tech support for your computer manufacturer or Internet service provider.
- Are people outside of your area able to access Records Search, but people within your area are not able or are denied access (home, other company, etc.)? If so, your network firewall may be blocking port 8193. We are required to use this port for security reasons. Unless this port is open, you will be able to view the King County Recorder's Office main page, but will not be able to connect to the Records Search application. Contact your network administrator or Internet service provider about obtaining access to IP/port:126.96.36.199: 8193.
- Are any users able to access Records Search? System problems on any of our servers may prevent access for a short time while maintenance is underway.
Yes, in order to be able to request individual searches, Records Search needs to be able to uniquely process these requests. The application assigns a random ID number (session ID) and uses this to identify and return results to the requester. This cookie is stored on your computer and is sent when you request data or images and expires each time your session ends. If you are concerned about allowing cookies on your system, you can turn on support for cookies when you visit this and other sites which require session IDs by adding 188.8.131.52 to your trusted sites list and deleting it when you have finished.
Once a document is recorded with the Recorder's Office, it is part of permanent public record. However, if a document is recorded with a personal identifier such as Social Security Number (SSN), mother's maiden name, or driver's license number, it can be restricted from access on our website.
If you have a document with one of these personal identifiers in the body of the document, you can have its access restricted by filling out the "Remove Image from Webpage" form available on our Record a document page. We will then record the form and restrict access to that specific document from our website.
While we are responsible for providing low or no-cost documents to the public, we are also keenly aware that privacy is of the utmost importance. Consequently, we do not display images of documents such as liens, federal tax liens, and marriage certificates that almost always contain personal identifiers. These documents are available from our office and can be requested either by mail or in person. By law, we are required to make these documents available upon request either by mail or in person. In addition, we are prohibited from altering any record.
Some documents may have been submitted to us for recording with a personal identifier embedded in the document. After reviewing your documents online through Records Search and determining that an image contains personal identifiers, you may request that the image be removed from website viewing by doing the following:
- Click Online Forms and Document Standards.
- Click the link to download the form called "Remove Image From Webpage”.
- Complete the form (please make sure you include ALL recording numbers that contain personal identifiers) and email it by clicking the "Submit by Email" button in the upper right corner, email it as an attachment to email@example.com, or print and mail it to the Recorder's Office.
The document will be processed and returned to you when completed.
Request a Copy FAQ
Please click here to obtain certified copies of a marriage certificate.
For information regarding such copies, please click here to be redirected to the King County Superior Court Records for more information.
For information regarding such copies, please click here to be redirected to the King County Vital Statistics for more information.