Michigan Marriage License Laws

Marriage License Laws in MichiganIn Michigan, here is what you need to bring with you and what you need to know about the marriage laws before filling out the Michigan marriage license form.

To get married, you need to apply and receive a marriage license. This is the document in your state that allows you to officially tie the knot under the law. The rules for acquiring your marriage license varies from state to state, so you should check with your county clerk’s office to find out what your local rules are.

You’ll typically need to apply for your marriage license at least one month before your wedding ceremony.  In some states the licenses expire if you don’t get married within a few months.

When you apply for your license, you’ll not only need a proof of identification and age, will need to provide any information about previous marriages, and will need to pay a nominal fee. You will also need to have a witness when you sign the application, so plan on bringing your maid of honor or best man with you. The bride will need to know what her married name will be before she signs the marriage certificate. You’ll have to write that name on the application.

Keep in mind that just because because you have your marriage license sent to you in the mail does not mean you are officially married. You need to have a justice of the peace or a religious clergyman sign the document. On your wedding day, you’ll give your chaplain your marriage license, then after the ceremony, he’ll sign it and send it to the proper government agency for validation.

ID Requirement: Picture ID such as a driver’s license.
You should know your Social Security numbers.

Residency Requirement: Do not have to be a resident of Michigan.

Application Requirement: Applicants intending to marry must obtain a marriage license from the county clerk in the county in which one of the parties lives (or, if both parties are non-residents, in the county where the marriage is to be performed), and deliver it to the minister/chaplain/officiant of the marriage, before the marriage can be performed. Both applicants are not required to appear in person at the time of applying. However, the following information is required on both applicants:

• A photocopy of the front and back of the other person’s driver’s license
• Full names
• addresses, dates and places of birth
• Bride’s name after marriage

Identification requirements vary in each county. A valid drivers license or certified copy of birth certificate may be requested.

Waiting Period: 3 days. The county clerk can waive the 3 day waiting period for “good and sufficient cause shown.”

Fees: $20 for residents, and $30 for non-residents. $15.00 of it is allocated for family counseling services. Wayne County is authorized to charge more. A probate court may waive the marriage license fee in cases of undue hardship.

Blood Tests: No tests required.

Under 18: Applicants 18 years of age may marry without parental consent.

• Applicants 16 years of age may marry with parental or legal guardian written consent.

• Applicants under the age of 15 with parental consent and probate court permission.

Marriage of a Minor: The legal marriage of a minor “shall release such minor from parental control.”

Common Law Marriage: Michigan does not recognize common law marriages for Michigan residents, however, the State does recognize common law marriages that are valid in other states.

Solemnization Authority: Marriages may be solemnized by any of the following:
• Federal, probate, district, and municipal judges, and district court magistrates, in their court area

• Mayors, in their city

• Wayne County clerks

• Ministers of the gospel, anywhere in the state, “if the minister is ordained or authorized to solemnize marriages according to the usages of the denomination, and is a pastor of a church in this state, or continues to preach the gospel in this state”

• Non-resident ministers of the gospel, anywhere in the state, if the minister is authorized to solemnize marriages by his or her state’s laws.

Solemnization Form: No particular form or oath is required. The parties merely solemnly declare that they take each other as husband and wife before at least two witnesses and the person officiating. A special law allows “the people called Friends or Quakers” and “people of any other particular denomination, having, as such, any peculiar mode of solemnizing marriages” to solemnize their marriages in their own manner.

Solemnization Fee: Mayors and Wayne County clerks are specifically authorized to collect a fee (set by their city, or county commissioners) for solemnizing marriages. The money is to be turned in to the government. There are no specific provisions concerning fees charged by others.

Certificate: After the wedding ceremony the person who solemnizes the marriage fills in (typed or legibly printed) the certificate with the time and place of the marriage and the names and residences of the two witnesses, and signs it. The part marked “duplicate” is given to the newlyweds, and the original must be mailed to the county clerk that issued it within 10 days. The clerk records the information in a registration book, and mails it on to the the state registrar. The person who performs the marriage must also keep a record ”in a book used expressly for that purpose. The license, when fully filled out, thus serves a “double purpose” and becomes the certificate.

Officiants: A minister of the gospel who is ordained or authorized by his or her church to perform marriages and who is a pastor of a church in this state, or continues to preach the gospel in this state may perform marriages. Ministers must complete a marriage certificate and give one to the couple. Another marriage certificate must be returned to the county clerk who issued the license within 10 days after the marriage.

Validity: License is valid for 33 days and can only be used within the State of Michigan.

Please Note: State and county marriage license 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 local marriage license office or county clerk before making any wedding or travel plans.

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