Kentucky Marriage License

If you're getting married in Kentucky, you must first apply for a marriage license.
It'll cost you $50.00, and you'll have to use it within 30 days.

See FAQ Offices

Where to Apply

Where can I get a marriage license in Kentucky?

Before getting married in Kentucky, you must apply for a marriage license at any county clerk's office.

Residency

Are there any residency conditions?

There are no residency requirements to get a marriage license.

Costs

What's the marriage license fee?

A Kentucky marriage license costs $50 throughout the Commonwealth. The fee is nonrefundable.

Note: Effective January 1, 2020, the marriage license fee increased from $35.50 to $50.00.

Does the fee include a certified certificate?

The marriage license fee includes a certified copy of your marriage certificate, which will be mailed to you after marriage.

Usage

Where can I use my marriage license?

Your Kentucky marriage license can be used anywhere in the Commonwealth. It's only valid in Kentucky.

Can my out-of-state license be used in Kentucky?

Only Kentucky marriage licenses are valid for use in Kentucky.

Application

What personal details will I have to share?

The marriage license application will ask for your name, date of birth, place of birth, residence, gender, race, occupation, social security number, parents' names, prior marriage count, and marital status (e.g., single, divorced, widowed).

Attendance

Do I have to apply in person?

You must apply for your marriage license in person alongside your future spouse.

Age Requirements

How old must I be to get married?

Aged 18 and over?

If you're 18 years old or older, you can marry without parental consent.

Aged 17?

If you're 17 years old, you can marry someone no more than four years your senior with permission from the family court and your custodial parents or guardian. Petition the court in your county of residence.

Aged 16 and under?

Minors below the age of 17 can no longer marry in Kentucky, regardless of parental consent or pregnancy.

What's required of consenting parents?

Consenting parents must live in Kentucky. The clerk's office provides the consent form. If divorced, bring proof of custody.

What changed in the minimum age requirements?

On March 29, 2018, Governor Matt Bevin signed SB48 into law, which prohibits marriage below the age of 17 and requires 17-year olds to petition the family court to marry someone no more than four years their senior.

Waiting Period

How soon will I get my marriage license?

You'll receive your marriage license the same day you apply for it. You can get married the same day.

Expiration

How long will my marriage license remain usable?

Your marriage license will remain valid for 30 days after issuance, which includes the day it's issued.

Identification

What are the ID requirements?

Bring government-issued photo ID to confirm your age, such as a driver's license, state-issued ID card, or passport.

Note: Some county clerks do not accept military ID.

Do I need to bring my birth certificate?

Only minors below the age of 18 are required to bring a certified copy of their birth certificate.

Do I need to bring my social security card?

Some county clerks will ask to see your social security card.

Blood Test

Is a blood test necessary?

The premarital blood test requirement was repealed effective July 15, 1982.

Divorced

Will I need to bring proof of divorce?

If divorced, you do not need to bring a copy of your divorce records.

Widowed

Will I need to prove my prior spouse's death?

If widowed, your late spouse's death certificate will not be requested.

Name Change

Can I change my name because of marriage?

You can use an online name change kit to change your name after marriage, as the process isn't automatic. Your marriage certificate will be the authorizing document. Start with your social security card before moving onto other documents.

Witnesses

Must witnesses be present?

There must be at least two witnesses present at your marriage ceremony. Their names will be recorded on your certificate of marriage.

The Ceremony

Who can officiate my marriage?

Your marriage can be solemnized by a judge, justice of the peace, county executive, minister of any religious denomination, or religious society's customs.

Can I get married in a civil ceremony?

County clerk offices do not conduct civil ceremonies. However, they're usually able to direct you to an available judge.

License Return

When must the marriage license go back?

Your marriage license should be returned to the county clerk that issued it within a month after marriage.

Marriage Certificate

How do I get a copy of my marriage certificate?

Your marriage license purchase includes a certified copy of your marriage certificate. Go to the same county clerk for extra copies, which are $10.50. The Kentucky's office of vital statistics also sells them for $6.

Proxy Marriage

Can I get married by proxy?

You cannot get married by proxy. No stand-ins or surrogates allowed at the ceremony. You must be present.

Prohibited Marriage

Can I marry a cousin?

You can't marry your first cousin. Second cousins and beyond are allowed.

Can I marry a family member?

You can't marry anyone in your family who's closer to you than a second cousin.

Common-law Marriage

Can I establish a common-law marriage?

Kentucky hasn't recognized the validity of common-law marriage since 1852.

Office Locations

Where will you apply?

Comments

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48 Comments

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  1. What if we dont want anyone to know that we are getting married what will we do about witness

    1. What if we dont want anyone to know that we are getting married

      There's nothing you can do to prevent this. You cannot get married anonymously.

      In Kentucky, marriage records are public records. Anyone can obtain a certified copy of your marriage certificate. They don't have to know you. They don't even have to claim to know you.

      what will we do about witness

      You'll need two witnesses at your marriage ceremony. Their names will show up on your marriage certificate as well. There's no avoiding this.

  2. How soon is the marriage certificate sent after returning it to the county clerks office?

    1. Hi Amy. You'll have to give it about a week after it's been recorded.

  3. How much does it cost to get married at the JOP?

    1. The cost to hire a justice of the peace to officiate your civil ceremony isn't set or regulated by Kentucky law or its counties.

      You'll have to negotiate the rate with your JOP like you would any other wedding professional (e.g., photographer, wedding planner).

  4. Any information about what to do if your spouse is foreign? Are the requirements all the same?

    1. Hi David. The marriage requirements are the same for foreign applicants and U.S. citizens.

  5. When i get the marriage license would they be able to direct me to someone that could perform the ceremony like a jop?

    1. Hi Kim. Yes, they can direct you to a judge or justice of the peace.

  6. Is a marriage certificate in Kentucky valid in other states or only in Kentucky?

    1. Is a marriage certificate in Kentucky valid in other states

      Generally, a marriage that's valid in one state is valid in all states. However, if the marriage could not have taken place in a given state, it might not be recognized in that state. For instance, prohibitions against underage marriage or marrying a close relative.

  7. I’ve been married not a Kentucky resident what paperwork will I need

    1. Hi Dave. I'm not sure what you're asking. Kentucky doesn't have residency requirements to marry if that's what you're referring to. You also don't have to be a resident of Kentucky for an out-of-state marriage to be considered valid in the Commonwealth.

  8. When does the marriage actually become legal? For example, a license was issued, a ceremony was performed, the license was signed, but it was never filed at the courthouse. If the license is never filed, are two people actually legally married?

    1. If the license is never filed, are two people actually legally married?

      The marriage is valid, but there's no proof of its existence on file with the state.

      There's nothing to prevent the couple from filing the marriage license late to get the marriage on the books.

  9. If a spouse to be is a hospice patient, unable to be moved, how can a marriage license be obtained?

    1. Hi Karen. You'll have to contact the county clerk and ask that special arrangements be made due to extraordinary circumstances.

  10. Do I need to make an appointment because the virus?

    1. Hi Tonia. It's possible. Which county are you applying in?

  11. I need help finding an available JOP and 2 witnesses.

    1. Hi Liz. Contact your county clerk's office for help finding a local justice of the peace. The Justice may be able to provide witnesses as well.

  12. Do the two witnesses at a wedding ceremony in Kentucky have to be at least 18 years of age?

    1. Hi Adam. There's no minimum age provision for marriage ceremony witnesses in Kentucky law.

  13. If I'm in the military and cannot be there in person. Is there still a way to get married in KY?

    1. Hi Alec. You must be there in person to get married.

  14. It says we can get married same day we obtain pur license, do we have to make an appointment for that or how does that work?

    1. Hi Addison. This means there's no waiting period. You'll get your marriage license the same day you apply. That doesn't mean the county clerk will perform your marriage ceremony. They don't do that. You'll have to get in touch with a judge. They should be able to direct you to one.

      Still, you'll want to schedule your ceremony well ahead of time. Assuming you'll get an available judge the same day you apply is risky.

  15. Looking for someone to Marry us on October 23, 2021.

    1. Hi Tammy. It's better that you contact a county clerk for a referral.

  16. My spouse is incarcerated. How do I go about doing this is it possible?

    1. Hi Nicole. Your partner must file a written request with the warden.

  17. Can the judge from for this on the same day. Ty

    1. Hi Sarah. You'll want to schedule your ceremony in advance. You can ask that it coincide with your date of application.

  18. Hey. I was just wondering I live in TN but was wanting to get married in KY. Would there be a waiting period for the judge?

    1. Would there be a waiting period for the judge?

      There's no waiting period to receive your marriage license. If you're asking about a waiting period (or wait list) to get married by a judge, then that's separate from your license. That's based on their schedule and availability. It's doubtful your out-of-state status would be a factor.

  19. My fiancé and I are having a destination wedding out of state, but we are both residents of KY. We would like to get our marriage license in KY.

    Could we apply for a marriage certificate in KY, have our officiant perform the ceremony in Oregon, sign the document in Oregon, and return it to Kentucky? If this is not possible, does it cost anything to have a judge marry us?

    1. Hi Rae. Your marriage must take place in Kentucky when you get a KY marriage license. If you're getting married in Oregon, you must get an Oregon marriage license.

  20. I live in Garrard County but wish to be married in Jessamine County. Which county do I apply for a license in?

    1. Hi Judi. It doesn't matter which Kentucky county you apply in.

  21. I've never been married before and this whole process is kind of confusing. Is there someone I can call or contact to help us through each step and how we should set everything up?

    We're non-religious and would like to just be legally married for now. Is it also possible to get legally married and save the actual wedding for a few years later like we have planned, or do we need to wait to file for a license until we're ready for a wedding?

    1. Is there someone I can call or contact to help us through each step

      You can contact the county clerk.

      We're non-religious and would like to just be legally married for now.

      You can hire an officiant that handles nonreligious ceremonies. You can also ask the county clerk for a referral for judges or justices of the peace who perform nonreligious ceremonies.

      Is it also possible to get legally married and save the actual wedding for a few years later

      Yes, the former would be legal, while the latter would be informal. You would only need to obtain a marriage license for the former.

  22. So I have been divorced for three years and my name never changed. Do I need to still provide a divorce paperwork?

    1. Do I need to still provide a divorce paperwork?

      You do not need to bring your divorce papers.

    1. Hi Nancy. Applying online is determined by each county clerk's office. Do you know which county you intend to apply in?

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