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 North Dakota?
Before getting married in North Dakota, you must apply for a marriage license at a county licensing office.
Which office do I apply in?
See the county list at the bottom for locations. Three-quarters are county recorders. The rest are mostly district court clerks.
Are there residency restrictions?
If either of you reside in North Dakota, apply in any county. Otherwise, apply in the county where the marriage will take place.
What's the residency status of stationed military members?
U.S. Armed Forces members stationed in North Dakota are considered residents for marriage license purposes.
How much is a marriage license?
A North Dakota marriage license costs $65 in every county and is nonrefundable.
How much does a civil ceremony cost?
A civil ceremony costs $30 when conducted at the licensing office during normal office hours.
Will my marriage license come with a marriage certificate?
The marriage license fee does not include a certified copy of your marriage certificate. It may be purchased separately for $5–$10.
Where can I use my marriage license?
If either of you live in North Dakota, you can marry anywhere in the state. Otherwise, marry in the county that issues the marriage license.
Can I use another state's marriage license in North Dakota?
You may only marry in North Dakota using a North Dakota marriage license.
What information will I have to fill out?
The North Dakota marriage license application requires your name, birthdate, address, county of residence, and social security number.
Do I have to apply in person?
You and your co-applicant must apply in person, together. Applying absentee or by proxy is not possible.
What if I'm active duty military, disabled, or imprisoned?
In office attendance is mandatory. Exceptions are not made for active duty military, the disabled, or prisoners.
How old must I be to marry?
Aged 18 and over?
If you're 18 years old or older, parental consent to marry is irrelevant.
Aged 16 and 17?
If you're 16 or 17 years old, a custodial parent or guardian must consent to your marriage.
Aged 15 and under?
If you're 15 years old or younger, you cannot legally marry in North Dakota, even with parental consent.
What are the parental consent requirements?
Which parent grants consent?
If your parents live together, either may grant consent to marriage. Otherwise, the sole custodial parent or guardian does.
How must parental consent be granted?
Parents or guardians must grant written, notarized consent to marry in front of the marriage licensing official.
When will I get my marriage license?
There is no waiting period. Your marriage license will be issued immediately.
How long do I have to use my marriage license?
Your marriage license will expire 60 days after issuance, the current day included.
What if my marriage license expires before I get married?
If your marriage license expires, you must restart the application process and pay again.
Do I need to show ID?
Submit proof of age, such as an original or certified copy of your birth certificate, driver's license, passport, state-issued ID card, or military ID card.
Do I need to show my social security card?
You are not required to present your social security card. However, your social security number is required.
Must a consenting parent or guardian show ID?
Any parent or guardian accompanying their child or ward to grant marital consent must present photo ID. Guardians must prove guardianship.
Do I have to get a blood test?
North Dakota's premarital syphilis blood test requirement was abolished in 1983.
What is required of divorcees?
If your last marriage ended in divorce, bring a certified copy of the divorce decree, which will be archived alongside your application.
How do I get a copy of my divorce decree?
County recorders and clerks are responsible for issuing certified copies of North Dakota divorce records.
Is there a delay imposed between divorce and remarriage?
North Dakota does not institute a waiting period between divorce and remarriage.
What is required of widows and widowers?
If your last marriage ended in spousal death, bring a certified copy of the death certificate, which will be retained in office.
How do I get a certified copy of a death certificate?
Certified copies of North Dakota death records can be obtained from the state's vital records office.
How do I change my name through marriage?
Specify your new name on the marriage license application. Later use your marriage certificate to legally effect the change.
Is name change automatic?
Name change is optional, not automatic. Government agencies must be notified. Online name change forms are available.
Who's eligible for name change?
Wives, husbands, and same-sex couples may all change their names.
What are my last name change options?
The following last name change preferences apply to current and former surnames of either spouse.
1. Spouse's surname
Take the current or any former surname of either spouse.
2. Hyphenate surnames
Hyphenate the current or any former surname of either spouse.
3. Space-separate surnames
Combine the current or any former surname of either spouse with a space. This is called a double-barreled name change.
4. Combine segments of surnames
Combine all or a segment of the current or any former surname of either spouse.
What are my middle name change options?
Unlike surname changes, the following middle name change options exclude your spouse.
1. Middle name replacement
Replace your middle name with your maiden name, or current or any former surname.
2. Hyphenate middle and surname
Hyphenate your middle name with your current or any former surname.
3. Space-separate middle and surname
Add your current or any former surname to your middle name, separated by a space.
Are witnesses required?
Two witnesses must attend your marriage ceremony and sign the marriage license afterward.
Is there a minimum age for witnesses?
North Dakota law does not specify minimum age nor competency requirements for witnesses.
Who can preside over our marriage?
Your marriage may be solemnized by a judge, county recorder, minister, priest, or authorized official of any religious denomination.
Can I get married in an office civil ceremony?
The person who issues your marriage license can schedule and solemnize your marriage for $30 during regular business hours.
Do members of the clergy have to register to solemnize?
Ministers, priests, and clergypersons require no registration or residency to solemnize marriages in North Dakota.
When must the marriage license go back?
Whoever solemnizes your marriage must return the marriage license to the issuing official within five days after marriage.
How do I get a copy of my marriage certificate?
You can order a certified copy of your marriage certificate for $5 to $10 from the office that issued your marriage license.
Can I order marriage records from the state's vital records division?
North Dakota's vital records division has not issued marriage certificates since January 1, 2008. It's a county-level function.
Can I get married by proxy?
You cannot get married by proxy in North Dakota. You must physically attend your marriage ceremony.
Can I marry my first cousin?
North Dakota law expressly forbids marriage between first cousins.
Can I marry a member of my family?
You cannot marry a grandparent, parent, child, grandchild, sibling, uncle, aunt, niece, nephew, or first cousin.
Can I marry a half-blood, adopted, or step relation?
You cannot marry a family member within a prohibited degree, whether related by the half or whole blood, adoption, or marriage.
If I marry out-of-state, will it be recognized upon my return?
Out-of-state marriages will be recognized as long as the marriage could have lawfully taken place in North Dakota.
Do I have to register a foreign marriage?
You do not have to register a foreign or out-of-state marriage in North Dakota.
Can I enter into a common-law marriage?
Common-law marriage was abolished in North Dakota in 1890.