Common-law marriage has diverse names, from "marriage in fact", "marriage by repute and habit", "informal…
Where to Apply
How do I get legally married in Montana?
To get married in Montana, you must apply for a Montana marriage license at a clerk of the district court office.
Do I go to the clerk of the district court or clerk of court?
The clerk of the district court and clerk of court are interchangeable titles for the same person and office.
Are there residency restrictions?
If either of you reside in Montana, apply and marry anywhere in the state. Otherwise, apply in the county where the marriage will occur.
How much is a marriage license?
A marriage license costs $53 in Montana.
How much is a declaration of marriage?
Filing a declaration of marriage with the district court costs $53.
Does my marriage license come with a marriage certificate?
Some district courts will mail you a certified copy of your marriage certificate for free, while others charge. Ask when applying.
Where can I use my marriage license?
If either of you live in Montana, you can get married in any county. Otherwise, you must marry in the county where you procure the marriage license.
What is a declaration of marriage?
A declaration of marriage is when you file your marriage instead of having it solemnized.
Does my marriage begin the day it's declared?
Your marriage begins on the date and time specified in the declaration, not when you file.
Is a solemnized marriage better than a declared marriage?
A solemnized marriage and declared marriage is legally equivalent. Conditions for applying—age, ID, divorce, etc—are the same.
What must the written declaration of marriage specify?
The declaration must contain your names, ages, residences, parents' birth names and addresses, marriage date, and statement of legal competence to marry.
Who is responsible for preparing the declaration?
Either you or a Montana-licensed lawyer may draft the declaration, which must be attested to by two attending witnesses.
How much does it cost to file a declaration?
The declaration of marriage filing fee is $53: same as a marriage license.
Where must I file the declaration?
File the declaration of marriage in your county of residence in Montana.
What information will I have to fill out?
The gender-neutral Montana marriage license application solicits the following under oath:
- Birth surname
- Residential address
- Place of birth
- City, county, and state or foreign country
- Father's name
- Father's residence
- City and state
- Father's place of birth
- State or foreign country
- Mother's full maiden name
- Mother's residence
- City and state
- Mother's place of birth
- State or foreign country
- Phone number
- Social security number
- For Title IV-D child support enforcement
- Highest education completed
- K-12 and college
- Which marriage "this" represents
- First, second, etc
- Last marriage
- End date
- End place (county, state, and court)
- End reason (e.g., divorce, death, annulment)
- Prior spouse's birth name
- Ceremony details
- If known
- Officiant's name
- Date and county of marriage
- Future mailing address
- Typically used to mail a marriage certificate
What if I'm unavailable to apply in person?
If you cannot apply for a marriage license in person, your co-applicant or legal rep can act as your proxy.
Does the absent applicant have any actual responsibility?
If you're applying by proxy, complete and sign your half of the application in advance and attach identification.
Can anyone apply-by-proxy?
Only Montana residents or active duty military can apply-by-proxy. Furthermore, only one applicant may apply absentee.
How old must I be to marry?
Aged 18 and over?
If you're at least 18 years old and mentally competent, you can marry without parental consent.
Aged 16 and 17?
If you're 16 or 17 years old, you can marry after counseling, parental consent, and court approval.
Aged 15 and under?
If you're 15 years old or younger, you cannot lawfully marry in Montana.
What are the underage marriage requirements?
Who must grant consent?
If you're underage, your custodial parents or guardian must grant consent to marry.
How is parental consent granted?
The consent form must be signed in person the same time you apply.
Who arranges the counseling sessions?
The court clerk will schedule two counseling sessions, 10 days apart.
Do I go to court first or apply for a license first?
Fulfill the counseling and consent conditions before petitioning a district court judge to sign your marriage application.
When will I get my marriage license?
Your marriage license will be issued immediately. You can marry that same day.
How long will my marriage license stay valid?
Your marriage license will expire 180 days after issuance.
What ID must I bring?
Bring age-validating ID, such as a driver's license, or state, military, or tribal ID card.
Can I use my passport as ID?
Some court clerks do not accept passports as proof of age.
Can I use my birth certificate as ID?
An original or certified copy of your birth certificate is sufficient ID. If not in English, have it translated and notarized.
Do I have to present my birth certificate?
You may be asked to present an original or certified copy of your birth certificate, especially if you're below 21 years of age.
Do I have to present my social security card?
You do not have to show your social security card. Knowing your SSN is enough.
Must consenting parents or guardians bring anything?
In addition to photo ID, sole custodial parents must bring proof of custody. Guardians must bring proof of guardianship rights.
Do I have to get a blood test?
What if I don't want to waive the Rubella blood test?
You're entitled to submit a medical certificate from a licensed physician confirming your Rubella immunity or exemption.
Should I bring proof of divorce?
If you're divorced, most court clerks will ask to see a certified copy of your divorce decree.
If recently divorced, do I have to wait to remarry?
There is no waiting period between a finalized divorce and when you may remarry.
Should I bring proof of being widowed?
If you're a widow or widower, most court clerks will ask to review a certified copy of your prior spouse's death certificate.
How do I change my name?
You can change your name using a certified copy of your marriage certificate.
What are my name change options?
Wives can take their husband's last name or hyphenate. Maiden to middle name change is also possible.
Which documents must I update first?
Update identity documents in the following order: green card, social security card, driver's license, and passport.
Can the name change process be streamlined?
If you'd prefer not to compile name change forms yourself, an online name change application can bundle them for you.
Are witnesses required at my ceremony?
Two witnesses, of no specific age, must be present at your marriage ceremony and sign the marriage license thereafter.
Are witnesses required for a declaration of marriage?
Two witnesses must sign your declaration of marriage in front of the court clerk.
Who may perform our marriage?
Your marriage may be solemnized by a judge, justice of the peace, tribal judge, or custom of any religious denomination or Indian tribe, nation, or group.
Must clergy be registered in Montana?
Clergypersons do not have to be registered to perform marriages in Montana.
Can we solemnize our own marriage ceremony?
Self-solemnization is allowed if permitted by your religious or Indian traditions.
What happens to the license after the ceremony?
After you're married, the marriage certificate must be returned to the issuing district court for recording within 30 days.
How do I get a copy of my marriage certificate?
You can purchase a certified copy of your marriage certificate for $7 from the district court that issued your marriage license.
But other websites say certificate copies are only five dollars?
Noncertified copies are $5. Certified copies are $7 and are used for legal purposes (e.g., marriage name change, court proceedings).
Can I get married by proxy?
If you can't attend your marriage ceremony, provide a note to your officiant that identifies who will serve as your proxy.
Is everyone allowed to get married by proxy?
At least one party to a proxy marriage must be a Montana resident or active duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Do I have to apply for a proxy marriage?
Only the officiant must be notified of your intention to marry-by-proxy.
Can both of us marry-by-proxy?
Only one party to a proxy marriage may assign a stand-in.
Can I marry a first cousin?
You cannot marry a first cousin in Montana.
Can I marry a family member?
You cannot marry an ascendant, descendant, sibling (half or whole blood), aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, or first cousin.
Can I get married if I'm already married?
You must be unmarried to remarry. Bigamy exceptions are not made in cases of spousal abandonment or presumption of death.
Can I enter into a common-law marriage?
You can enter into a common-law marriage in Montana if you are at least 18 years old.
Can I convert a common-law marriage into a real marriage?
You can convert a common-law marriage into a real, legal, registered marriage by filing a declaration of marriage.
Is a common-law marriage the same as a declaration of marriage?
A common-law marriage is informal, requiring no registration. A declaration of marriage is legal, requiring registration.