Common-law marriage has diverse names, from "marriage in fact", "marriage by repute and habit", "informal…
Where to Apply
How do I get married in Maryland?
To get married in Maryland, apply for a marriage license at the clerk of the circuit court office in the county where the marriage will occur.
Where do I apply if I'm getting married in Baltimore?
The City of Baltimore has its own circuit court, separate from Baltimore County.
Are there residency requirements?
There are no residency requirements to marry in Maryland.
Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to marry in Maryland?
You do not have to be a U.S. citizen to get married in Maryland. Foreign couples are welcome.
How much is a marriage license?
A Maryland marriage license costs between $25 and $85. The fee varies by county, but most charge $35.
How much is a marriage certificate?
A certified copy of your marriage certificate costs $5.50 per copy. This is separate from the marriage license fee.
How much is a civil marriage ceremony?
A civil ceremony costs $25, except for Cecil County, where it's $35.
Where can I use my marriage license?
You may only use your marriage license in the county where you got it.
Can I use another state's marriage license in Maryland?
You must use a Maryland marriage license to get married in Maryland.
What information must I fill out?
The marriage license application will ask for your name, age, residence, birthplace, social security number, and marital history.
Why is my social security number asked for?
Your social security number is used for child support enforcement purposes. It will not be shown on the marriage license.
How long does it take to process my application?
The marriage application process takes between 15 and 30 minutes.
What if I can't apply in person?
If you cannot apply in person, your partner may apply on your behalf.
What if neither of us can apply in person?
If neither of you live in the county you're applying in, you may mail a Non-Resident Marriage License Application Affidavit.
How old must I be to get married?
Aged 18 and over?
If you're at least 18 years old, you may get married without parental consent.
Aged 16 and 17?
If you're 16 or 17 years old, you may get married with a parent's or guardian's consent or if you're pregnant or have given birth.
If you're 15 years old and pregnant or have given birth to a child, you may marry with a parent's or guardian's consent.
Aged 14 and under?
If you're 14 years old or younger, you may not get married in Maryland.
What are the rules for underage marriage?
Who grants consent?
One parent or guardian must grant consent. The parent need not have custody rights.
How is consent granted?
A parent or guardian may grant consent in person or with a notarized consent form.
How must pregnancy be proven?
Show proof of pregnancy or prior birth with a signed medical certificate.
Who must compose the certificate?
The certificate must be from a certified nurse practitioner or a licensed physician or physician's assistant.
What if my parent or guardian doesn't approve?
A court will not overrule a parent or guardian who refuses to grant consent.
When will I get my marriage license?
You'll either get your marriage license the day you apply or two days later. Issuance varies by county.
How soon can I use my marriage license?
Your marriage license won't be effective for use until two days after applying, at 6 a.m.
Is it possible to waive the two-day waiting period?
A circuit judge may waive the two-day waiting period for good cause if you're a Maryland resident or a member of the U.S. military.
Who picks up the marriage license?
Either applicant may pick up the marriage license. A third-party may pick it up with your written approval.
Can the license be mailed?
The court clerk can mail you your marriage license. This may exclude minors.
How long will my marriage license last?
Your marriage license will expire six months after the day it becomes effective.
What if I lose my marriage license?
If you lose your marriage license, get a duplicate replacement for $10.
Must I show ID?
Bring government-issued photo ID that confirms your age, such as a driver's license or passport.
Must I show my birth certificate?
A certified copy of your birth certificate may be asked for if you're below the age of 18.
Must I show my social security card?
You do not have to bring your social security card, but you must know your number.
Do I have to get a blood test?
You do not have to get a premarital blood test. The court clerk will give you material on birth control and a list of family planning clinics.
Do I have to bring proof of divorce?
The court clerk may ask to see a certified copy of every divorce decree. If divorced within the past year, it's a likely ask.
How soon can I get married after divorcing?
You do not have to wait to get married following a divorce.
Do I have to bring proof of being widowed?
The court clerk may ask to see a certified copy of every prior spouse's death certificate.
How soon can I get married after being widowed?
There is no waiting period to remarry following the death of a spouse.
Can I change my name?
Husbands, wives, and same-sex couples may change their names after marriage.
Is name change required?
Neither party to a marriage must change their name.
Can I change my first name?
Your must petition a Maryland circuit court to change your first name.
Can I change my middle name?
You may replace your middle name with your maiden name or last name at birth.
What are my last name options?
You may take your spouse's last name or hyphenate surnames in any order.
How do I complete a name change?
Use a certified copy of your marriage certificate to effect a name change.
When can I begin work on my name change?
You may begin the name change paperwork online before or after marriage.
Which documents must I update to change my name?
Are witnesses required?
You do not need to bring witnesses to your marriage ceremony.
Who may solemnize our marriage?
Your marriage may be performed by a judge, court clerk, or authorized official of a religious body.
Can I get married in a civil ceremony?
Judges and court clerks hold civil ceremonies by appointment. It costs $35 in Cecil County and $25 elsewhere.
What happens to my marriage license after marriage?
Your officiant must return your marriage license to the court clerk who issued it within five days after marriage.
How do I get a copy of my marriage record?
Ordering from the circuit court?
You may buy a certified copy of your marriage certificate for $5.50 from the circuit court that issued you your marriage license.
Ordering from Maryland vital records?
Maryland's Vital Statistics Administration sells birth, death, divorce, and marriage certificates for $10 to $12.
Can I get married by proxy?
Your may not get married by proxy, phone, or video. It requires your physical presence.
Can I marry my cousin?
You can marry your first cousin in Maryland.
Can I marry a family member?
You cannot marry a grandparent, parent, stepparent, child, stepchild, grandchild, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew.
Can I enter into a common-law marriage?
You cannot enter into a common-law marriage in Maryland. This has always been the case.
Will my out-of-state common-law marriage be legal in Maryland?
Maryland law will recognize a valid common-law marriage set up outside the state.