Planning a wedding is an exciting time, so don't let the marriage license laws of Minnesota put a dent in your wedding plans.
You will need to apply for a marriage license with the county office that handles licensing and this does vary from one county to another. There are also certain documents you'll need to bring with you. The Minnesota marriage license is valid for a full six months, so it's best that you take care of this legal matter at least a month before your wedding date.
Residency and ID Requirements
You do not have to be a resident of Minnesota to be married within the state. The license is valid anywhere in Minnesota. It's always best to check with your county to find out their specific requirements and where you need to apply for the license.
Some counties also allow you to begin the application process online. You will need to apply in person to complete it, though. If one of you cannot make it to the county office, there is an alternative. You can provide a supplemental marriage application form and a copy of the original application; both must be notarized.
When applying, you will need to provide proper identification such as your driver's license or a state ID card. If you have Social Security numbers, you must provide those or state that you don't have one.
Additionally, if either of you has a felony conviction, you will need to provide that information, including the jurisdiction. When one of you wants to change your name, proof of your service papers needs to be provided as well. (MS 259.13)
If you were previously married, you must be able to provide information about how the union was dissolved. Whether by divorce or a spouse's death, be prepared with the date and place (county, state, and court for a divorce decree) of the event.
Minnesota respects the waiting period of other states after a divorce. If you are from California or Wisconsin, you will need to wait six months in order to marry again in Minnesota.
In Minnesota, marriages between first cousins by whole or half blood, as well as to an aunt or uncle, are illegal. Additionally, you may not marry a parent or sibling, even if it's through adoption.
Minnesota no longer has a waiting period. Once you receive the marriage license, you may be married right away.
The marriage license fee in Minnesota is set by the state and is $115. While some counties may accept other forms of payment, it's a safe assumption that you will have to pay with cash.
If you provide written proof of 12 hours of premarital counseling, the fee is reduced to $40. The education course must cover general marriage issues such as communication skills and conflict management. Only ordained or licensed ministers and people authorized to solemnize marriages or practice marriage therapy may provide the counseling. They must also provide a statement as proof that includes a specific oath that they have followed the law.
Minnesota does not require blood tests.
Proxy marriages are not allowed in Minnesota, so both of you must be present for the ceremony.
Common Law Marriages
While Minnesota will not allow you to form a common-law marriage within the state, those that are contracted in states that do are recognized within Minnesota.
As of August 1, 2013, same-sex marriages have been legal in the state of Minnesota. Further, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June of 2015 in the case of Obergefell vs. Hodges, same-sex marriages became legal throughout the country.
According to Minnesota Statute 517.02, if you are 16 or 17 years old and wish to be married, you must have parental consent or court approval. You will need to contact your county marriage license office to get full details on the requirements and procedures.
A number of officials may perform wedding ceremonies in Minnesota. These include judges, clerks of court, court commissioners, and licensed ministers, priests or rabbis, as well as representatives of Bahai, Hindu, Quaker, and American Indian religious groups.
You will need at least two witnesses at your wedding ceremony who are at least 16 years of age.
Marriage License Information
Once received, your Minnesota marriage license is valid for six months. You will need to have your ceremony within that time or reapply and pay the fee for a new license.
After the ceremony, the person who officiates your wedding must file the license with the county that issued it within five days.
Copy of Certificate of Marriage
You will not automatically receive a certified copy of your marriage certificate after your wedding. To request one, contact the county office where you applied for the license. This can typically be done through the mail or in person, and you will be charged a small fee.
The information in this article is intended to be general guidance to help you prepare when applying for a marriage license in Minnesota. It's important that you check with your county to verify the information because the laws and requirements can change. Additionally, this should not be regarded as legal advice and you should consult an attorney.