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Appeal Procedure

Application Procedure
How the Appeal Works
Final Decision


  • We will deny a Marriage License Application when an applicant cannot provide proof that a previous marriage has ended due to divorce, annulment, or death of the other spouse.
  • There are occasionally times when a person applying for a Marriage License was once a victim of identity theft.
  • We have created an appeal process to assist people who have had their identity stolen and used to apply for a fraudulent marriage.
  • We work with the City's Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) to have a forum for you to redress the denial of your Marriage License Application without incurring the expense of a lawsuit.


  • The fee to appeal a denial of a Marriage License Application is $25 by credit card or money order payable to the City Clerk.

Application Procedure

  • If you have been denied a Marriage License or a Domestic Partnership Registration, you are eligible to apply.
  • You must obtain the appeal application at the

    Manhattan Office of the City Clerk,
    141 Worth Street
    New York, NY 10013
  • You must file the appeal within 30 days after the date of the denial.

How the Appeal Works

  • Step one: The Petition
    • We will send you a Petition within 15 days from the date you apply for an appeal.
    • The Petition is a written statement outlining the reason your application for a Marriage License was denied with a copy of the records in your name on file with this office.
    • A copy of this Petition will be sent to OATH.
  • Step two: The Answer
    • You must respond to the City Clerk within 30 days of receiving the petition by sending us your Answer. (We will provide you a sample Answer form upon request.)
    • Your Answer can include any documentary evidence or other proof including notarized affidavits (sworn statements) that show you are not presently married.
    • You must deliver two copies of the answer by mail or in person to:

      Counsel to the City Clerk
      141 Worth Street
      New York, NY 10013
  • Step three: Preliminary Decision
    • Within 15 days after OATH receives your answer, an administrative law judge (ALJ) of OATH will decide if your answer has enough information to support a decision on your appeal.
    • If the ALJ decides that there is enough information to support a decision, a recommendation will be given to the City Clerk.
    • The City Clerk will review the recommendation and render a final decision about your appeal.
    • If the ALJ decides that there is not enough information to support a decision, the ALJ will order an administrative hearing within 60 days.
  • Step four: Administrative Hearing
    • We will send you and your attorney, if you have retained an attorney, a letter advising you of the time and place of the hearing.
    • This notice will also be sent to the person that is listed as your spouse in the City Clerk's records.
    • You will have 30 days notice of the hearing.
    • You have the option of bringing an attorney or other advocate to the hearing.
    • You may also present testimony of an expert witness such as a handwriting expert.
    • If you decide to present the testimony of an expert witness, you must notify the ALJ and the City Clerk 15 days before the hearing and provide them copies of any documentation provided by expert witnesses intended to be used at the hearing seven days before the hearing.
    • You may give testimony and otherwise present relevant and material evidence on your behalf, cross-examine witnesses, and examine any document or other item offered as evidence.
    • After the conclusion of the hearing, the ALJ will make a recommendation to the City Clerk.
    • The City Clerk will review the recommendation and render a final decision about your appeal.

Final Decision

  • The City Clerk will make the final decision about your appeal after reviewing the recommendation of the ALJ.
  • The City Clerk will send you the final decision by mail.
  • If the City Clerk decides in your favor, you may then apply for and obtain your Marriage License.
  • If the City Clerk decides against you, you may appeal that decision to the Supreme Court of the State of New York by filing an Article 78 lawsuit.
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