Getting a marriage license for a wedding in Ohio is not difficult. There are a number of requirements you will need to follow, however, so it's good to know what those are before you apply for your license.
In Ohio, marriage licenses are issued through the county probate court. Once received, your license is valid for 60 days. With that much time allowed, you will want to make sure to get it well in advance of your wedding date to ensure everything's in order.
Residency and ID Requirements
You do not have to be a resident of Ohio to get married in the state. Residents need to apply for the license in the county where one or the other of you lives. You may get married anywhere in the state. If you are not a resident, then you must apply in the county where the wedding will take place.
The requirements for each county can vary, so check with your local probate court. In some counties, you may be able to begin the marriage application online. You must both appear in person to complete it and obtain the license.
When applying, you will be asked to prove your identity and age. This can be done with valid photo identification, such as a driver's license, visa, passport, or state-issued ID. You will also be asked for your Social Security numbers, place of birth, and occupation. Additionally, be prepared with your parents' birth names and the name of the person who will marry you.
If one of you was previously married and it ended in a divorce or annulment, you will need to show proof of that. Bring a certified copy of the court's decree along with the case number, date, and location. Some counties require only your most recent divorce decree, others will ask for information on all previous marriages. The court may also want to know about any children who are minors.
In the case of a spouse's death, some counties will require a death certificate while others will not.
Covenant Marriage Option
Ohio does not have a covenant marriage option.
There is no longer a waiting period in Ohio. Once you receive the marriage license, you can have the ceremony.
The fee for a marriage license varies by county. Some counties charge around $40 while others will require $70 or more. Call the probate court where you want to get married to verify the cost and how to pay for it as some will only accept cash.
Blood and other tests are not required to get a license.
Proxy marriages are not allowed in Ohio. Both of you will have to apply for the license and be present at the ceremony.
It is not legal to marry a first cousin or any relative closer than that in Ohio.
If you entered into a common-law marriage before October 10, 1991, it is still valid. However, the state no longer allows them to be formed.
In November 2004, voters passed a constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. This banned same-sex marriages in the state. However, in June of 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Obergefell vs. Hodges that it is unconstitutional to deny gay couples the right to marry. This legalized same-sex marriage everywhere in the country, including the state of Ohio.
Ohio's marriage code (Chapter 3101) states:
"The recognition or extension by the state of the specific statutory benefits of a legal marriage to nonmarital relationships between persons of the same sex or different sexes is against the strong public policy of this state."
If either of you is 16 or 17, you can only marry under certain circumstances. Each probate court has different requirements and it may make a difference if you're male or female.
For instance, some counties specifically state that minor girls need the consent of both parents (or the sole parent with legal custody) as well as a "Minister's Statement." The boy, on the other hand, must have parental consent and permission from the judge.
Other counties do not explicitly state that a girl of 16 needs permission or they require that both minors have parental consent. Some judges will only grant the marriage license if you're pregnant and premarital counseling is typically required.
You can be married by an ordained or licensed member of the clergy who has presented their ordination credentials to the county probate judge. A judge of a municipal or probate court and mayors can officiate weddings as well. Each county should be able to provide you with officiants available for civil ceremonies.
In Ohio, the marriage license is valid for 60 days. You have that amount of time to have your wedding ceremony. Failing to do so means you will have to apply for a new license and pay the same fee.
Copy of Certificate of Marriage
You can receive a certified copy of your marriage certificate by requesting one through the county court where your license was issued. In Ohio, it is officially called a "certified marriage abstract." The fee is minimal and a copy can be requested in person or by mail, though some counties offer online ordering as well.
The information above is only intended as guidance to help you get started when applying for a marriage license. Since each county has different requirements and the Ohio marriage laws can change, it's important that you check with your county to get the most accurate information.
Additionally, this article should not be regarded as legal advice. It's best to consult an attorney who specializes in family law with any questions.