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Marriage License Requirements

Local Officiants

Getting a Marriage License and getting Legally Married in the Unite States:

  1. Both applicants must bring identification, necessary paperwork, fees, and sometimes blood test results to the county clerk.

  2. The marriage license is either mailed or picked up by the couple.

  3. There is sometimes a waiting period, depending on your state.

  4. You are married by someone legally allowed to do so in your state.

  5. That person, usually two witnesses, and sometimes the newlyweds sign the marriage license.

  6. The marriage license is returned to the county clerk’s office.

  7. About a week later, copies of the certified marriage certificate can be purchased from the clerk’s office.

Marriage License Laws Requirements

Applying for a Marriage License:

When applying for a marriage license current photo identification is required such as a driver’s license or passport; proof of citizenship and/or residence; a birth certificate to show your age; a death certificate if you are widowed or divorce decree if you are divorced; proof of parental consent and possibly court consent if you’re underage; and blood test results if you plan to get married in the State of Montana.

Obtaining a Marriage License:

Both spouses must apply for the marriage license in person at a courthouse, city hall, or town office and sign the marriage license application in the presence of the clerk.

Marriage Application Requirements:

To complete an application for a marriage license, both spouses must:

One or both spouses to be married must appear in person with proper identification for both spouses(along with payment of a fee).

Marriage ID Requirements:

Present proof of birth facts and identification in the following form:

  • Current drivers license

  • State-issued identification card

  • Birth certificate

  • Passport

  • Military I.D

  • Alien Registration Card

  • and Social Security Number

Marriage Residency Requirement:

Most states in the U.S. do not require you to be a resident of the state in order to obtain a marriage license there.

Marriage Waiting Period after Application:

Marriage Waiting Period after Receiving Marriage License:

Previous Marriages: ✔ Search Marriage | Divorce Records

If previously married, Applicant must provide the complete final date of divorce, or if widowed, the complete date of death, where applicable.

Marriage License Fees:

Fees for marriage licenses range from a low of $10 to as much as $115. The cost varies based on county, city or municipality, residential status, and in some cases, completion of a pre-marital counseling or education course. A few states, have standard, statewide fees. Preferred method of payment is cash. For guidance on additional methods of payment, please call ahead.

Marriage Blood Test Requirement:

Blood tests are no longer required in all states. Montana (PDF) is the one state which requires both spouses intending to get married to get a blood test as one of their marriage license requirements.

Marriage Age Requirements:

In the United States, all but one state requires that a couple be 18 in order to marry without parental permission. Nebraska sets the age of majority at 19. Although a few states will waive this requirement if there is a pregnancy, the couple may still have to have court approval.

Delware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, and Oklahoma: Allow pregnant teens or teens who have already had a child to get married without parental consent. However in Florida, Kentucky, and Oklahoma, the young couple must have authorization from a court. Maryland requires that the minor be at least 16. Even with parental approval, many states will require court approval when a person is 16 years of age or less.

Proxy Marriages:

A proxy marriage, or marriage by proxy, is when one or both parties are not present at a proxy ceremony, but are represented by others. Only four states allow proxy marriages: California, Colorado, Montana, and Texas. With the exception of Montana, each of these states require one of the spouses to appear before the civil authorities. Montana, however, allows a “Double Proxy” marriage, where proxies may appear, in place of both parties.

Cousin Marriages:

  • Close blood relatives cannot marry, although in some states, first cousins can legally marry.

  • Twenty states (20) and the District of Columbia allow cousins to marry.

  • Six (6) states permit first-cousin marriage only under certain circumstances.

  • Twenty-four (24) states prohibit marriages between first cousins.

Common Law Marriages:

Here’s a list of states that recognize these marriages.

  • Alabama

  • Colorado

  • District of Columbia

  • Georgia (if created before 1/1/97)

  • Idaho (if created before 1/1/96)

  • Iowa

  • Kansas

  • Montana

  • New Hampshire (for inheritance purposes only, and the recognition begins only after the first spouse dies.)

  • Ohio (if created before 10/10/91)

  • Oklahoma (possibly only if created before 11/1/98)

  • Pennsylvania (if created before 1/1/05)

  • Rhode Island

  • South Carolina

  • Texas

  • Utah

Wedding Officiants Requirements:

Performance of a marriage ceremony with witnesses and a person recognized by the state to have the authority to perform marriage ceremony (such as a priest, rabbi or a judge).

  • A religious ceremony should be conducted under the customs of the religion, or, in the case of a Native American group, under the customs of the tribe. Religious ceremonies normally are conducted by religious officials, such as ministers, priests, or rabbis. Native American ceremonies may be presided over by a tribal chief or other designated official.

  • Civil ceremonies usually are conducted by judges. In some states, county clerks or other government officials may conduct civil ceremonies. Contrary to some popular legends, no state authorizes ship captains to perform marriages.

Marriage Witnesses Requirements:

Most states require both spouses, along with the person who officiated and one or two witnesses age 18 or older, to sign the marriage certificate.

Recording of Marriage License after Marriage Ceremony:

The person who performs the marriage ceremony has a duty to send a copy of the marriage certificate to the county or state agency that records marriage certificates. Failure to send the marriage certificate to the appropriate agency does not necessarily nullify the marriage, but it may make proof of the marriage more difficult.

Marriage Certificate after Marriage Ceremony:

Most recording agencies offer you the oportunity to purchase a certified copy of your marriage certificate at the time you buy your marriage license, and as soon a your marriage has been recorded it is picked-up or mailed to you. Others, you must request and pay an additional fee to receive an official (certified) copy of your marriage certificate.

Expiration Date of Marriage License:

  • 10 days: Oklahoma

  • 20 days: South Dakota

  • 30 days: Alabama, Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin

  • 33 Days: Michigan

  • 35 Days: Colorado

  • 60 days: Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia

  • 65 days: Connecticut

  • 90 days: Alaska, California, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Texas

  • 6 months: Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, Montana, New Jersey

  • 1 year: Arizona, Nebraska, Nevada, Wyoming

  • No expiration: District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Carolina

Please Note: State and county marriage license Law requirements often change. The above information is for guidance only and should not be regarded as legal advice.

It is important that you verify all information with your local marriage license office where you will be married for the most up-to-date information.

 

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State Laws marriage requirements to obtain and file a marriage license to receive certified copy of your marriage certificate from clerk’s office upon request.

United States Marriage License Laws