JEFFERSON-If you’re hoping to get hitched in the new year, Ashe County just made the process a little easier on you.
Deaett Roten’s Register of Deeds office just launched an online marriage application that should remove one more headache on the path to wedded bliss. Here’s what you need to know.
Roten said the online application’s main benefit is the time it should save both applicants and her staff. “Folks can go online to our website, get access to the application there and fill out a copy at their leisure,” Roten said. “Then, when they come by here for the final steps we can go and pull the application up by their name and everything is already filled out. We have to do a ‘verified copy’ and they’ll look it over to make sure everything is OK and we’ll double check to make sure everything is correct.” In total, the process should shave up to 20 minutes off the total time to process the application.
But you’ll still have to come to the courthouse
Roten said both applicants will still have to come to the Ashe County Courthouse. Once they’ve verified the automated application and provided social security cards and identification, Roten said her staff will administer an oath to the applicants prior to obtaining the necessary signatures on the marriage license. Applicants must appear at the Register’s Office within 15 days of completing the online form. Anytime after that period and applicants will have to re-submit the information. Once the marriage license is approved, applicants have 60 days to get married, she said.
Four years in the making
Ashe County Manager Sam Yearick said work on the online marriage application first began in 2011, but was quickly halted due to technical issues. He said work on the website was attempted sporadically since then, but only resumed in earnest in late 2015.
Why did it take so long?
Yearick said security concerns and technical hangups kept the online application from moving being finished earlier. “You have to build something that is both accessible to the public and secure at the same time,” Yearick said. “It’s a system that has to deliver really sensitive information to the Register of Deeds office, so you have to make sure you get that right from the get go.”
It’s about customer service
Both Roten and Yearick singled out this process as an example of ways the county is making more services available to Ashe County residents and businesses. “My view is that if you can do something to make your customer service better, even if it’s one service at a time, we should do that,” Yearick said. “And if there are ways we can help the other county offices, we should do that, too.”
But this is just the first step
Roten said the online marriage application is the first – and easiest – step her office will take to make a wider range of services available to the public online in 2016. “That’s the entire goal that the state is moving towards, and that includes us,” Roten said. “I think shortly you’ll see us begin the cancellation and certificate of satisfaction process online.” How will that work? When someone pays off a deed of trust in full, banks send Roten’s office a notification. That deed is then updated, Roten said, to notify others that it’s been paid in full by the borrower. “That’ll be a big plus in terms of title search purposes,” Roten said. “That’ll likely be the next process that we put online, hopefully sometime early in 2016.”
Reach Adam Orr at 336-489-3058 or Twitter.com/AdamROrr.