Common-law marriage has diverse names, from "marriage in fact", "marriage by repute and habit", "informal…
Where to Apply
Where can I get a marriage license?
You can apply for a Missouri marriage license at any county's recorder of deeds office. You'll be assisted by the recorder of deeds, or "recorder" for short.
How much is the marriage license fee?
A Missouri marriage license costs between $46 and $60, depending on the county. The vast majority of counties charge $51.
Note: The license fee may or may not include a complementary certified copy of your marriage certificate.
Are there any residency requirements?
There are no residency-related preconditions to get a marriage license. Missourians and nonresidents are welcome to apply.
Where can I use my marriage license?
Your marriage license is good for use anywhere in Missouri, but can't be used in another state.
What information will I have to fill out?
The marriage license application requires your name, birth surname, date and place of birth, residence, total prior marriages, how and when your last marriage ended, race, highest education level completed, and social security number.
What if I don't have a social security number?
If you don't have a social security number, the recorder will have you sign a statement attesting to that fact.
What if I can't apply in person?
Submitting a notarized absentee affidavit application is reserved for adults aged 18 and over who are active duty military, incarcerated, or disabled. Only one party to a marriage can apply absentee. Whoever applies in person must submit the other's application.
Are you active duty military?
Your commanding officer must confirm your active duty status on the affidavit verification form.
Are you incarcerated?
The warden, sheriff, or proper prison official must confirm your incarceration on the affidavit verification form.
Are you disabled?
A qualified medical official must confirm you're disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act on the affidavit verification form.
What are the age restrictions for marriage?
Aged 18 and over?
If you're an adult aged 18 and over, you don't need parental consent to marry.
Aged 16 and 17?
If you're 16 or 17 years old, you can marry anyone below the age of 21 with the written consent of your custodial parent or legal guardian.
Aged 15 and under?
Minors under the age of 16 can no longer marry, effective July 13, 2018.
How can a parent or guardian grant consent?
Parents or guardians can grant consent in person or by completing a notarized parental consent form provided by the recorder's office. You may be charged $1 per consent form signature.
When will I get my marriage license?
Your marriage license will be issued immediately. Afterward, you can marry at any time.
How long will my marriage license last?
Your marriage license will remain valid for 30 days after issuance. Return any unused license to the recorder's office. Report a lost or destroyed license.
What ID should I bring?
Bring valid unexpired government-issued photo ID, such as a driver's license, passport, state-issued ID card, or military ID card.
What ID should minors bring?
In addition to regular photo ID, minors should bring a certified copy of their birth certificate.
What ID should consenting parents and guardians bring?
Consenting parents, bring photo ID and proof of custody if divorced. Consenting guardians, bring photo ID and guardianship papers.
Do I have to get a blood test?
You do not have to get a premarital blood test.
Do I have to prove I'm divorced?
Just know the date your divorce was finalized. You don't need to bring your divorce decree.
Do I have to prove my spouse's death?
Just know the date your spouse died. Their death certificate isn't required.
Are witnesses required at my ceremony?
At least two witnesses must attend your marriage ceremony and sign your marriage license afterward.
How do I change my name due to marriage?
Changing your name because of marriage can be done using your marriage certificate, but it isn't automatic. You must mail the proper forms to the proper institutions. You can use of an online name change service to assist. Start with your social security card before other institutions.
When does my marriage license need to be sent back?
Your marriage license must be returned to the original recorder of deeds for recording within 15 days after your marriage ceremony. Failure to return is a misdemeanor offense.
Where can I get a copy of my marriage certificate?
You can purchase a certified copy of your marriage certificate for roughly $9–12 from the recorder of deeds office where you applied for your marriage license.
Can I enter into a common-law marriage?
Missouri does not recognize common-law marriage established in this state or another.
Can I marry my first cousin?
Missouri law prohibits marriage between first cousins.
Is marriage among other family members allowed?
You can't marry an ascendant, descendant, sibling (half or whole blood), aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, or first cousin.
Can I marry-by-proxy?
You can't get married by proxy in Missouri. You must attend your own ceremony. No surrogates.
How can I get married in a civil ceremony?
Employees at the recorder of deeds don't perform civil ceremonies. However, they can direct you to a judge who may solemnize your civil marriage by appointment. The fee varies per county. Some judges offer the service for free.
Share your questions or comments
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I want to marry my girlfriend
Hi Craig. Did you have a specific question?
Do both parties need to be present to apply for a marriage license?
Hi Lori. Both must apply in person, unless one of you is active duty military, disabled, or incarcerated. If any of the latter is true, whoever's present can apply absentee on behalf of the missing.
Can the court provide witnesses?
Hi Justin. You'll have to ask the judge to arrange that when your appointment is scheduled.
Can I get marriage license and married all in one day at the courthouse?
Hi Emily. That's up to the judge. You'll have to schedule an appointment anyway, so inquire when you do so.
Can a minor getting married be from out of state as well as long as a guardian is present with them?
Hi Ann. Yes, out-of-state minors can marry if granted proper permission from their guardian.
My car was broken into and birth certificate and SS card were stolen, and I'm getting married this week! Every Social Security Administration office says they are remote only right now, no walk-in option.
Will the recorder allow me to prove my SS# another way? I have my current license and passport. Freaking out! 😭
A stolen social security card or number is serious business. Consider visiting the FTC's Identity Theft website to report what occurred.
True. All 1600+ field offices are closed due to COVID-19 precautions.
You needn't show your social security card. Just document the number on the application. Even if you had to show it, you could arrange for another document, such as a pay stub or tax return. It's not required anyway.
Can the officiant of our ceremony also serve as a witness?
Hi Nick. Your officiant can't serve as a witness. You'll need two additional people. They can even be strangers.
I live in Indiana but my fiance is in prison in Missouri. Do I have to get the marriage license in Indiana?
Hi Jacob. You must get your marriage license from the state the marriage will take place in. Residency is irrelevant. If the marriage will take place in Missouri, get it there. Otherwise, get it from Indiana.
Do I need my ssc or can I just use my birth certificate and driver's license.
So do I mail the absentee application to my bf that is incarcerated to have him fill it out and get it notarized? Or do I have to have someone take the application up to the facility?
Hi Bria. You or your boyfriend can contact the warden to make arrangements. They may already have the paperwork on hand.
My bf is incarcerated and we want to get married tho he doesn't have a ss card, id or bc because was lost. Does the affidavit act as id for absentee? Could I make an appointment for judge to come to the jail for marriage? Where do i get the applications?
And can i bring witnesses to jail?
Hi Kelli. That too is up to the warden.
He doesn't need the card, just the social security number. If he doesn't have one, then mark that on the application.
If the warden can't provide photo ID, then mark on the application that identification isn't available. The birth certificate is only required for minors.
Work that out with the warden.
The county recorder of deeds office.
If we don't have two witnesses can the judge or "court" produce them for us?
Provide them rather.
Hi Michelle. Although the judge can produce witnesses, it doesn't mean that they will. You'll have to arrange that with the judge.
Do they check to see if you're married or not when getting marriage license.?
Hi Freeman. No, there's no marriage ceremony monitoring. They'll only record your marriage once when your marriage license is returned for recording.
Of course, they can collect stats on how many non-used marriage licenses expire, but that's simple math that any licensing office in the world could maintain.
I have been ordained to perform marriages and I have marriage licenses. Can those marriage licenses be used and be legal?
Also, would I have to provide anything to show that I am ordained to provide this service?
I'm not sure what you mean here. Are you referring to blank copies?
No, verification isn't necessary.
Is there any way to change the witnesses on my marriage certificate and/or license? As in can I have two different people sign them instead?
Hi Drayden. Your marriage license may only be modified to correct errors after it's returned for recording.
I'm looking to marry the girlfriend. Been a thing for 10 years. We don't want to do the wedding and all that. Just the marriage certificate and be married. How do we go about that
Hi Eric. You can ask the county recorder (or their staff) for a referral to a local judge who performs marriages.
I have been ordained and will be officiating my friends wedding. I know I will have to return the marriage license. Does that have to be in person or can I mail it in? I live in another state
Hi Annabel. You can mail the marriage license back. That is standard.
Can someone give me any information in regards to marrying someone who is currently in jail? How do I apply for the license, how much does it cost, and how will the ceremony be performed with the current restrictions due to COVID?
I would like to be able to kiss my husband after we are officially wed, but since they don't do in person visitation, will I even be able to marry him in person?
Hi Tabitha. Your partner must contact the jail administrator to make arrangements.
My son wants to marry his fiancé. They are both residents of AZ but he is currently in military training based in MO. He will have a family day coming where we will be flying out to see him. This is when they are hoping to get married.
Will they need to apply for a marriage license in MO since that is where the marriage will take place? And if so, are they able get the license online prior to the actual marriage day. He only has one day of release from his base so they are hoping to do everything at once.
Yes, they must apply in Missouri.
Could you specify the county in Missouri where they plan to apply.
I plan on getting married to the love of my life on the 14th of next month. But there's only one witness. Will that be okay or will the judge help get one more witness. And also are offices currently open for walk-ins. Thanks.
No, you'll need two witnesses.
Maybe. It depends on the judge. And you'll want to lock down your judge well in advance. If you don't have one, you can contact the recorder of deeds for a referral.
That depends on the office. Which county do you plan to apply in?
I plan to apply in the Cape Giradeau County. I have been trying to get in with the office but no one is picking up the calls.
The Cape Giradeau County Recorder of Deeds website doesn't reference an appointment requirement, so walk-ins are presumably accepted. Try calling them upon opening, which is 8am Central Time.
Can I file for a absentee application for my incarcerated fiance?
Hi Paul. The absentee affidavit verification form should be completed by your fiancé in concert with the warden, sheriff, or prison administrator.
Me and my boyfriend want to get married when I turn 16. But the problem is my mother says she would have to go to court and prove herself as an unfit parent for me to get married and move out. Is that true?
Hi Katelynn. All your mother must do is fill out a parental consent form. She doesn't even need to go to the courtroom. She could have it notarized instead.
I am getting married in July and I will be applying in Wayne County. Will I need to schedule an appointment or can me and my fiancée do a walk in?
Hi Patrick. Schedule an appointment.
How do I make a appointment to get marriage license and get married in the same day
How many people can I bring to witness?
Also what documents do I need to obtain a marriage license?
Hi Rayonda. If you're asking about a courthouse wedding, that's up to the court. You'll have to inquire about limitations with them. You must have at least two witnesses.
Do you have to apply for a marriage license in the same county you're getting married in?
Hi Melodie. You can apply in any Missouri county and then marry in any Missouri county.
Hello My boyfriend is in prison in Missouri. I live in Oklahoma. How can we get married?
Hi CJ. The prison administrator will complete the absentee application.
Do you have to get the certificate in the county you are getting Married in? Or live in? It does it matter?
Hi Lindsay. Yes, if you get it from the issuing county recorder and deeds office. No, if you get it from the state-level bureau of vital records.
My fiancé and I are planning on getting married in 14 days and I was wondering if in Nixa Missouri if I have to schedule a appointment or can I just walk in to get the marriage license. And if I should book the judge now since we are trying to get married in 14 days.
H Kaleb. You can walk in. And you should book your officiant in advance.
What if I am getting married in MO but living in another state?
Hi Tiffney. The rules are the same for nonresidents.
How do I get the marriage certificate after my marriage (procedure to obtain a marriage certificate at St. Charles County)? I obtain my marriage license at St. Charles and same have been returned back to me via mail after the marriage.
Hi R.K. You can contact the St. Charles County recorder of deeds to obtain certified copies of your marriage certificate.
Hi - We are getting married on 11/11/2023 and would like to pick up our marriage license on 11/10/2023. Is there any concern over state/federal holiday closures for Veteran's Day? Thanks!
Hi Ellen. You should be fine, since you'll pick up your license a day before Veterans Day. But if you're cutting it that close, you may want to contact the recorder of deeds in advance to let them know you plan to marry within 24 hours of applying.
You wouldn't want to show up only to find out they started requiring appointments.
How would I approach this if my significant other is incarcerated?
Hi Ashlee. Get in touch with the warden. They will put things in motion.
My friends are being told that their marriage is not valid because they and the pasture took a drink of wine during the ceremony. Does alcohol involvement void their wedding?
Never heard of this. Can't find a statute referencing it.
Hi. My name's Meagan Pilliard. I was divorced and I'm pretty sure Nathan married a Lorisa Whitmire this year. My concern is it's not been reported to CSD. Thank you very much!
What is CSD in reference to?
If I get a marriage license, do I have to have a ceremony? Can it be any two people witness it or does it have to be a preacher?
You must have a solemnization. Yet it need not be elaborate.
Anyone can serve as a witness. The person who officiates your ceremony cannot serve as a witness.
Is there a warrant check when get married? Like do they have to check warrants first?
I never came across such a thing in Missouri statutes or recorder-provided instructions.
I am a Missouri resident, but my fiancee is a British national. Can I get a Missouri marriage license and be married in Missouri when he is not a US citizen?
Hi Rosemary. Yes, U.S. citizenship is a nonfactor when applying to get married in Missouri.
Can the man change his last name too when getting married in Missouri?
Hi Kyle. It has to be done through court petition.
What happens if you do not record your marriage license within the time allotted?
Hi Dina. The recorder of deeds would likely accept a late marriage license if your marriage took place before its expiration date.
Hi. Does the State of Missouri have covenant marriage as an option?
Hi Dee. There is no covenant marriage option in Missouri, but a covenant marriage bill has been proposed.