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?
To get married in South Carolina, first apply for a marriage license at any probate court. The probate judge or clerk will process your application.
How does my residency affect getting a license?
Your county residency only affects the license fee, not where you can apply or marry.
How much is a marriage license?
A South Carolina marriage license costs between $30 and $100. The fee varies by county and residency. Most applicants pay about $50.
Where can I use my license?
Your marriage license can be used anywhere in South Carolina, but only in South Carolina.
What information do I have to fill out?
The marriage license application will ask for your name, birth surname, birthdate, birthplace, race, sex, residence, total prior marriages, and social security number or alien identification number.
What if I can't apply in person?
You and your prospective spouse must apply together in person. Applying absentee is not an option.
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 with the consent of a custodial parent or guardian. Consent can be granted in person or by sworn affidavit.
Aged 15 and under?
If you're below the age of 15, you can't marry, except in cases of pregnancy.
Update: On December 12, 2018, State Senator Katrina Shealy (R) introduced Senate Bill S0196, which would outlaw marriage below the age of 16.
Is there a pregnancy exception?
Update 1: On December 18, 2018, South Carolina House Representatives Beth Bernstein, Neal Collins, and Shannon Erickson pre-filed House Bill 3369, which would rescind the pregnancy exception provision that allows minors to marry.
Update 2: As of November 30, 2022, state law no longer allows females below the age of 18 to marry without parental consent if she's pregnant or have given birth to a child.
What's the benefit of taking a premarital preparation course?
Complete a 6-hour premarital preparation course within a year before marriage to get a one-time $50 state income tax credit. The course must be taken together. The tax credit will be split 50/50. Show your certificate of completion when applying to have your license properly notated.
When will I get my license?
Your marriage license will be ready for pick up 24 hours after filing your application. Remember, most probate courts are closed weekends.
Can the waiting period be waived?
The mandatory 24-hour wait can't be waived, nor will a license be issued in advance showing tomorrow's "effective" date.
How long will my marriage license last?
South Carolina marriage licenses do not expire, which is a rarity among states.
What ID should I bring?
ID for adults?
If you're at least 18 years old, bring valid government-issued photo ID that verifies your age.
ID for minors?
In addition to showing photo ID, minors must surrender an original or certified copy of their birth, baptismal, or hospital certificate.
ID for parental consent?
The consenting parent must bring ID. If divorced, bring a certified copy of the divorce decree proving custody. Guardians, bring ID and proof of guardianship.
Do I have to bring my social security card?
Some probate courts will ask to see your social security card or another document containing your social security number.
Do I have to get a blood test?
You don't have to get a premarital blood test. However, you'll be given information on family planning.
What if I'm divorced?
Some probate courts will ask to see a certified copy of your divorce decree, especially if divorced within the past year.
What if I'm a widow or widower?
Widows and widowers don't need to bring their late spouse's death certificate.
How do I change my name because of marriage?
Changing your name after marriage in South Carolina isn't automatic. The name change process utilizes your marriage certificate to authorize various federal and state organizations to honor your request. They must be alerted individually, starting with the Social Security Administration.
Do I need to bring witnesses?
Witnesses aren't required to attend your marriage ceremony.
Who can solemnize my marriage?
You can be married by a minister of the gospel, rabbi, notary public, official authorized to administer oaths, or leader of a state-recognized Indian entity.
Can we hold a self-solemnized ceremony?
You and your prospective spouse can't act as your own officiant. A third-party must be involved.
Can I get married in a civil ceremony?
Some probate courts provide civil ceremony services by appointment for roughly $20.
When does the license need to back?
Your marriage license must be returned to the issuing probate court for recording and indexing within 15 days after the ceremony.
How do I get a copy of my marriage certificate?
Probate courts sell certified marriage certificate copies for about $5, but only for marriage licenses their office issued. The state's vital records office also sells them for $12, but only spanning July 1950 to December 2014.
Can I get married by proxy?
You can't get married by proxy by using a stand-in to represent you. Physical attendance of your ceremony is mandatory.
Can I marry if I'm not divorced?
Marriage without first divorcing is allowed if your spouse has abandoned you for the past five years and their whereabouts is unknown.
Can I marry my cousin?
You can indeed marry your first cousin.
Is marriage among certain family members permitted?
You can't marry a descendant, ascendant, sibling, stepsibling, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew. Cousins are ok though.
Can I obtain a common-law marriage?
The South Carolina Supreme Court abolished common law marriage in South Carolina effective July 24, 2019. However, common law marriages established before this date will remain valid.
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139 CommentsLeave a Comment
What all do I need for me and my boyfriend to get married here in South Carolina
Hi Tina. Go to any probate court. Bring $30 to $100, photo ID, divorce decree (if applicable), and maybe your social security card. You'll get your marriage license 24 hours after you apply.
how many marriage licenses were applied for in Greenville County during the year of 2018? I need this information for my business plan for a bank loan for a wedding venue.
Thank you, Karen Harneberger
The CDC has marriage stats up to 2017. If you need 2018 statistics, you'll have to contact the Greenville County Probate Court clerk.
How can me and my boyfriend that's from Mexico and he only has a passport get married at the court house
That's sufficient ID.
Did you get info? My fiancé has his Mexican passport and Mexican ID !! I’m going through the same thing but where I went to ask for info they require a Social Security Number.. Without a SSN we can’t get marry !! Plz help
Social security number for U.S. citizens. Alien identification number for non-U.S. citizens.
We want to marry on the sand at Folly Beach. IS there a listing or directory available to find an official that will marry us there?
Hi Nancy. You'll have to hire a minister or other type of officiant to perform your marriage like any other wedding professional for hire. Just search for South Carolina officiants in your area. You could also try contacting the Charleston County probate court for local recommendations.
So, after we get our marriage license at the court house, are we legally married? or do we have to have a ceremony.
Hi Ethan. Your marriage license merely permits you to marry. The ceremony is necessary to make your marriage legal.
I hate downtown traffic, is there another location to apply for a marriage license besides University Ridge in Greenville County?
No, Greenville County only has that one location. You don't have to apply in Greenville. You may apply in any South Carolina county, but the fees will vary. You'll also probably miss out on the discounted fee for county residents. Not all counties provide the discount though.
We want to get married but wait to have the ceremony till next year when we have more money. Is that an issue?
We dont want a Church official to marry us as we arent religious. So can the court marry us instead? And how much?
If your marriage is going to be solemnized now, the ceremony you have next year will be an informal event that doesn't use your marriage license. Your marriage date will be what takes place prior.
Yes, the probate court can marry you through a civil ceremony. It'll cost you about $20.
where is the closes probate court, that will marry someone, other than Gaffney sc , they don't perform marriages anymore
Gaffney is in Cherokee County. Cherokee's neighboring counties are Spartanburg, Union, Chester, and York. Use the office locations drop-down to get the office addresses.
Does the Horry County Courthouse allow small civil ceremonies for weddings, if so how do I make an appointment?
Yes, ceremonies are conducted in the probate court during normal business hours, which is 8am to 5pm, Monday through Friday.
You can find the Horry County Probate Court contact information using the counties dropdown.
You may not have to make an appointment if you arrive well before closing time. You also don't have to have your ceremony performed on the same day you receive your marriage license.
Can me and my fiance get a marriage license in NC where we reside and have the ceremony in SC? Or do we need to get our marriage license in SC?
HI Zina. Since your ceremony will take place in South Carolina, you must get a South Carolina marriage license.
Does Berkeley County Probate court do civil ceremonies? And if so how would I go about scheduling one?
Hi Rachel. I don't believe they do perform civil ceremonies, although they are authorized to.
Can you get married at the probate court on Decker Blvd ? If so is an appointment needed and how do you make an appointment?
Hi Joanna. You will have to contact the probate court and make an appointment.
I'm planning to marry my girl. shes a foreign national btw. Is a Passport with Visa acceptable as proof for alien identification number? or how does that work?
Plus having a link/list showing which probate courts offer civil ceremonies would be really great. The only reason im asking this is cos based on what ive read so far, not all courts offer them.
That's sufficient ID.
Although all probate courts are permitted to perform marriages, not all do. And not all those that do publish their services. If there's a set of counties you're considering, reply back here and I'll try and look that up for you.
We got married last October and I turned in the probate judge copy but never turned in the probate/dhec copy. It totally slipped my mind. Are we legally married if I didn’t turn in that copy?
Hi Jay. You should be good if the probate copy was turned in.
Who files the marriage license after the marriage?
Hi David. Whoever officiates the marriage should turn in the marriage license.
We have had our marriage license over a year but havent found a place to get married. We got it in york county. Is it still good?
Also which counties let you get married in the courthouse? York county does not.
South Carolina marriage licenses don't expire after issuance.
There isn't a defined list of courthouses that do civil ceremonies. You'll have to contact them individually to inquire. The ones that do often require an appointment.
How much does it cost for a Courthouse marriage after you already have the marriage license and what Courthouse can we go to get married at in Sumter,SC
About $20, give or take.
None. The courthouse in Sumter County used to perform civil marriage ceremonies, but not any more. Get in touch with a reverent, ordained minister, or notary public instead.
Is there a courthouse in Greenville County that will marry you? The one on University Ridge says that they don't…
No, but here's a list of notaries that perform marriages.
My boyfriend is from Germany and I am from South Carolina. We are looking at what would be the most cost-effective way for us to get married legally in the future.
He has a German passport and a German ID card, while I have a Social Security Card, passport and a SC driver's license.
Will this be enough for us to get married in South Carolina legally? Also, if it is and we can get married legally in SC, how much would it cost us?
Civil ceremonies cost around $20. Getting married by an non-governmental officiant or notary public varies. They set the own price. Getting married by a notary should set you back between $50 and $100.
Hi , I want to marry my fiancé , she is from Ireland , has valid visa in passport , when I called the courts about obtaining a Marriage License they told me we both have to bring our SSC's with us , how can we get around that .Thank you
Hi Sharon. Did you make clear to the court that your fiance didn't have a SSN? At worse, you may have to provide a statement from the SSA that your fiance doesn't have a SSN.
We are from Tennessee and planned on getting married on Saturday. We found out there is a 24 hour wait for the license. Is there any location that we can apply tomorrow and recieve the license to get married on Saturday? Thank you for the help.
Hi Michael. The 24-hour wait is standard across the state. At best you could request the license be issued immediately, with its effective date stamped for Saturday. You may want to call ahead to determine if this would even be possible.
I live in Florida and my fiancé lives in South Carolina. I would like my pastor from Florida to officiate our wedding in South Carolina. Is that allowed?
Yes, that's allowed.
What would I need to get married? We are thinking about getting married around the holiday - a courthouse wedding and wanted to be sure.
Hi Rachel. Not all probate courts offer courthouse weddings. You'll have to contact them in advance and ask about availability and scheduling an appointment. If need be, you can apply in one probate court and get married in another.
Do the court house in Sumter SC do civil Marriage?
Hi Erika. The Sumter County Probate Court does not perform courthouse civil marriages.
If i got a marriage license in jan but never picked it up or got married is it still good now. I am getting married next wk thanks
Hi Kiefer. You can still use your marriage license, even after a year.
What is required for getting married to a foreigner? Will she just need her birth certificate and ID? My fiancee is Korean and we are planning on getting married in December.
Hi Mark. Passport and visa would suffice.
We are both residents of FL, but plan on being in SC in April, we would like to get married while there. Is this possible and if so what do we need to apply? He is divorced and I am a widow. Thank you in advance. Rebecca
Hi Rebecca. There are no special requirements for out-of-state residents. Bring ID and your social security card. If you can't bring the latter, bring a document that shows your SSN.
Your partner should bring a certified copy of their divorce decree. Widowers typically don't have to show their late spouse's death certificate, but if you already have it, it doesn't hurt to bring as well.
Finally, make sure you factor in the 24-hour waiting period before receiving your license.
We have the license but it was never signed/returned to the probate judge, then we decided to cancel our wedding a few months later. Will this affect our ability to marry other people in the future? Since the license never expires in SC.
Hi Cindy. You may want to look into getting your marriage annulled. Counting on a non-return to make your marriage event disappear is a brittle path.
How much do it cost for me and my boyfriend to get marry for the first time and can we bring witness with us
Do we have to pay or do the witness have to pay a fee for being there with us
Hi Laquanda. The ceremony fee is approximately $20. There's no fee for witnesses to attend.
Hi Laquanda. The average is $50, but the range is quite wide. Use the locations lookup to see the precise fee. Witnesses are up to the person, courthouse, or judge performing your marriage. You'll have to consult with them.
My Fiancé and I are getting Married in June in Horry County, SC. We were told we could file for our Marriage Licenses online, instead of driving to Conway twice in one week. Is this true? If so, what website would we use.
Unless they've gotten it buried somewhere on the Horry County Probate Court website, I don't see any such functionality. You'll have to contact them back and get the link.
I am a notary in SC. I have officiated a wedding before and did the ceremony and such. This time, I have been asked to witness a wedding and they wanted a minister from out of the country to actually perform the ceremony with me being there.
If I am in attendance and they have all appropriate ID, along with me fill out the paperwork after the ceremony when I meet with them privately, is this acceptable and legalize their marriage?
Basically, the only thing I won’t do is go over their vows. I would do all my due diligence afterwards. Is this acceptable?
Hi Carl. Whoever goes over their vows needs to fill out the certificate of marriage.
Good morning , I am a licensed ordained minister in WV. My daughter wants to get married in South Carolina, what will I need to do to perform the ceremony. Thank you
Nothing special. Just perform the ceremony. No registration needed.
If we get married in Virginia this weekend because my mother's health is in jeopardy, can we also get married in South Carolina? Do we need to do a renewal of vows or can we get a marriage license also in South Carolina.
Our original plan was IOP marriage but we will do this ceremony in a week so my mother can attend our wedding. What do we need to do for the ceremony in SC?
South Carolina won't issue you a marriage license to remarry your current spouse. Only a few states allow this. Unfortunately, South Carolina isn't among them.
You can perform an informal vow renewal. Your marriage will be legally recorded in Virginia. South Carolina wouldn't establish a record of it.
My boyfriend and I want to get married in Richmond County. He does not have a SSN. He's from overseas. Can we still get a marriage license?
Hi Yasmin. Your boyfriend doesn't have to supply a SSN if he doesn't have one. It won't get in the way of your getting a marriage license.
How can me and my husband legally get married he is currently incarcerated in SCDC. and I live in NM. is there a way possible?
Hi Delphina. Your partner must make arrangements. They'll make a security assessment and decide to approve or decline. Your marriage would have to take place in South Carolina. Likely within the prison.
I was wondering what the process is and if it's possible for my fiance to get married even though he is incarcerated right now? He's in another county but we're from Lauren's county. I don't know if that matters. Does he have to start the process with an application or form from the prison or do I?
It's better if your partner starts the process with prison officials, but you're free to contact them to inquire.
I recently became a minister of a church online in order to officiate a wedding in Charleston County. Is there some kind of documentation that I have to provide the probate court to show that I am an "ordained minister of the Gospel?" Thank you.
Hi Kevin. You're not required to provide the probate court any credentials. South Carolina doesn't register officiants.
Hey me and my boyfriend are looking to get married. I'm from Charleston and he from Walterboro. What do we need to be married?
There are no residency restrictions. You can get your marriage license anywhere in South Carolina, then marry anywhere in the state.
Can a REAL ID be used instead of social security card?
Hi Diana. A Real ID is fine for ID purposes, but it won't have your social security number, so it's no good for that. Some courts will ask to see something with your social security number. If you don't have a SS card, they may accept something else, such as a W-2 or pay stub.
Can I get married by the probate judge in Richland, Lexington, Kershaw or Fairfield County?
You'll have to contact each location individually. You can use the office locator on this page to gather phone numbers. Here's a few tips though:
What documents do you need for the license application?
Hi Layne. At a minimum, bring government-issued photo ID. If you're a minor, bring a certified copy of your birth certificate. If you've been divorced, you may have to bring your divorce decree. Some offices may want to see your social security card. You can call ahead to confirm if added documents are needed.
My common law husband and I have lived together for 20 years and have one child together. Is this considered a legal marriage? We were concerned, due to our age, if death occurs, their might be further issues with Social Security etc.
We are considering actual getting married, if this is going to cause issues. Is it required to have a ceremony or can we obtain a marriage license without a ceremony to be considered legally married? Thanks in advance for your assistance!
The length of time you've been together doesn't establish a common law marriage. Even if it's decades. You have to show intention to marry (such as a written agreement) or something informal where you refer to yourselves as husband and wife publicly.
If you were to get married, this would erase all doubt. You should consider consulting with a South Carolina lawyer versed in common-law marriages and how it would affect future benefits if you don't formally marry.
Ceremony is required, but it needn't be elaborate. You can have the probate court do it for a modest fee. Or hire a third-party, such as a notary public.
Thank you for your assistance!
I am married in another state, I don't know where my ex lives. I have tried looking at public records and online for the last three years. I have even tried social media. Do I need to get a divorce first to marry my fiance now? I live in South Carolina for 5 years.
Hi Sam. You can remarry without divorcing if the abandonment has been five years or more.
If I am a pregnant 16 year old do I need consent to get married?
Hi B. You do not need consent to marry. But you do need to show proof of pregnancy from a licensed physician.
If we were married in VA but our minister put that she married us in SC is our marriage invalid?
Hi Stephanie. Your marriage is valid, but you should contact the court to correct your record.
If I am not living in SC, but getting married in SC, are there any additional or different requirements?
Hi Emilie. The fee might be different for nonresidents. Beyond that, there's no difference or additional requirement.
So you don’t need the premarital course to get married? It’s optional for the tax credit?
Correct, the premarital prep course is not required to get married.
I'm picking up our marriage license tomorrow from Conway Probate Court. We thought we could get married right there at the courthouse but were told they don't offer it. We don't want a ceremony, is there another place that offers to marry a couple like the court house does?
Hi Sharon. You can look up South Carolina notary publics who conduct marriages.
What all I need for me and my boyfriend to get married and how much and can we go to the court house to get married?
Go to any SC probate court, and bring $30 to $100 (price is based on county residency), identification, prior divorce decrees (if applicable).
Contact the probate court in advance to schedule your courthouse wedding. The hours may differ from the marriage license application times.
Can you have witnesses with you? If so how many is allowed?
Hi Christina. For private ceremonies, the number of witnesses are your prerogative. For civil court ceremonies, it's up to the court. Keep in mind, marriage ceremony witnesses are not required in South Carolina.
Hi my gf is a foreign. If she doesn't have alien identification number? Only passport and esta visa. can we still apply marriage license?
Hi Hang. Her passport is enough.
I've searched all over the Richland County site for information regarding availability, pricing and scheduling of a civil ceremony at the courthouse to no avail.
I understand that COVID has changed the traditional course of business across the board; however do you possibly have information in regard to the status of civil ceremonies currently or can you please direct me to the proper channels to gain information on this matter.
Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated!
Hi Isabel. The Richmand County probate court does not perform civil ceremonies. You'll have to hire your own third-party officiant, or officiate your own marriage.
How much to get probate to marry you in Dillon, SC.
Hi Linda. Dillon County, SC probate court does not perform civil marriage ceremonies. No one in the probate court does.
Hello were we go to for same sex marriage? Because I’m calling Sumter Camden and Lugoff and know one is understanding me!
Hi Keisha. The same-sex marriage license is the same as the default marriage license. The application process is the same. You'd apply at any probate court within South Carolina.
Good evening I am traveling from out of state. May 28, 2022 - Tuesday May 31, 2022. Want to get married in Horry County. What should I do know to prepare before I arrive? Thank you
Make sure you bring proper ID. If you're divorced, bring a certified copy of your divorce decree. You can apply anytime between today and your marriage date. You needn't worry about your marriage license expiring, as SC doesn't allow their licenses to lapse.
When I apply for a license in SC, do I need to bring my partner's divorce decree as I have never been married. Also can the application be filled out online and brought with me to apply and pay the fee. And when the license is ready in 24 hours; do I just return to the place that I applied for pick-up?
Not all probate courts will ask to see the divorce decree, but a sufficient number do, which makes it worthwhile to bring if not a burden. And your partner should bring the decree, as you must apply together.
Some probate courts may provide online applications and fee collection. It depends on the county.
I'm trying to marry my boyfriend and he lives in South Carolina and I'm going to move in with him. How can we get our marriage license?
Hi Shantae. You must apply together for a marriage license in any SC probate court.
I'm from another state and my boyfriend is from Clarendon what do we need to get married at the courthouse?
Hi Dawn. You'll have to schedule your marriage in advance by contacting the probate court.
Has the process for courthouse marriage changed? Can We still apply in person?
Hi Lisa. It depends. Can you specify the county?
If we get a marriage license will we not be officially married until a ceremony?
Hi Ash. Your marriage license just authorizes you to get married. You're not officially married until the ceremony concludes.
Does Greenwood County offer courthouse marriage anymore? I already have marriage license trying to get married need to know how to go about doing it.
Hi Jessica. I don't believe Greenwood does them, so you may have to hold it in another county.
What all would I need to do to get legally married in Charleston, SC to another female? Cheapest price? Location?
Hi Brandi. The marriage license fee is $70. Assuming you're 18 years old or above, you must bring photo ID. If you're divorced, you might have to show a certified copy of your divorce decree.
Is the pregnancy law still active? Can I still get married as a minor if I'm pregnant?
No, it has been rescinded.
Do the court house have a person that can marry me and my fiance once we get the marriage license?
Hi Calvin. It varies by probate court. You must contact them to determine availability.
Can me and my boyfriend get married at the courthouse?
Hi Nia. Some probate courts do perform marriages on the premises. You'll have to contact the court regarding availability and scheduling.
Hello, my fiancé and I are trying to get a marriage license, but he works a 9-5 and can’t get much time off. Does he have to be there with me to apply?
Yes, you both must apply together.
Mistake was made on prior marriage number on our marriage license. If we take it back to Anderson, SC probate will they correct it before we get married? And will we have to pay the fee again? Thanks
Hi Meri. If the probate court made the error, they should reissue you a new marriage license for free. Otherwise, you might have to pay a reissue fee.