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 West Virginia?
In order to get married in West Virginia, you must first apply for a marriage license at the county clerk's office.
Note: County residency dictates where you may apply.
Who will process my application?
The county clerk (a.k.a. clerk of the county commission) or their deputy clerk will process your application.
Does my residency affect the marriage license process?
If you or your partner lives in West Virginia, apply in the county of either's residence. Nonresidents may apply in any county.
How much is a marriage license?
A West Virginia marriage license costs $56. However, if you complete premarital education, the price drops to $36.
Does the marriage license fee include a marriage certificate?
The marriage license fee does not include a certified copy of your marriage certificate, which can be purchased for an extra $5.
Where can I use my marriage license?
Your West Virginia marriage license can be used anywhere in the state. It may only be used in West Virginia.
Can I use an out-of-state marriage license in West Virginia?
You must use a West Virginia marriage license to lawfully marry in West Virginia.
What information will I have to fill out?
The marriage license application will ask for the following information under oath:
Birthplace City and state, or foreign country
Date of birth
Mailing address If ordering a marriage certificate
Residential address No P.O. Boxes allowed
City, town, or location; county, and state
Social security number Or passport, tourist, or visa number for foreigners
Martial history Total prior marriages
Last marriage end date
Last marriage end reason (i.e., death, divorce, annulment)
Race or ethnicity
Highest education level Elementary to college
Father's name and birthplace
Mother's full maiden name and birthplace
Do I have to apply in person?
You and your partner must apply for a marriage license in person, at the same time.
How old do I have to be to get married?
Aged 18 and over?
If you're 18 years old or older, you can marry without parental consent.
Aged 16 and 17?
If you're 16 or 17 years old, you can marry with the written consent of your custodial parents or legal guardian.
Aged 15 and under?
If you're 15 years old or younger, you can marry with a court order and consent from your custodial parents or legal guardian.
What are the parental consent requirements?
What if my parents are divorced?
If your parents have equal custody over you, both must consent. Otherwise, only the sole custodial parent must approve.
How must parental consent be granted?
Parental consent can either be granted in person or with a notarized consent form.
What are the circuit court requirements?
Which circuit court do I petition?
You must petition a circuit court in the same county as the county clerk's office.
Do I go to the circuit clerk or county clerk first?
Secure your court order before applying for a marriage license.
What's the benefit of completing premarital education?
The marriage license fee drops from $56 to $36 with a four-hour premarital education course certificate of completion that's less than a year old.
How soon will I get my marriage license?
If you're at least 18 years old, your marriage license will be issued immediately. Underage applicants must wait two full days.
Note: The "two full days" stipulation does not include the day you apply.
Can the waiting period for minors be waived?
A circuit court judge in the same county where you apply can waive the two-day waiting period for extraordinary situations.
How soon can I get married after receiving my marriage license?
Your marriage license will become effective for use immediately after issuance.
How long will my marriage license last?
Your marriage license will expire 60 days after issuance, after which it is null and void.
Do I have to show ID?
Submit proof of age, such as a birth certificate (original or certified), driver's license, military ID card, voter's registration certificate, passport, green card, or visa.
Do I have to prove residency?
If your identification does not demonstrate county residency, bring a document that does, such as a utility bill.
Do I need to show my birth certificate?
Underage applicants must show an original or certified copy of their birth certificate.
Do I need to show my social security card?
You do not need to show your social security card. Just know your social security number.
Do consenting parents or guardians need to bring anything?
Consenting parents and guardians must bring ID. Sole custody parents and guardians must bring proof of custody and guardianship.
Is a blood test required?
You do not have to submit to a premarital blood test or physical exam?
Do I have to document my divorce?
Some county clerks will request a certified copy of your divorce decree if divorced within the past six months.
Is there a delay between divorce and remarriage?
There is no waiting period between a finalized divorce and remarriage.
Do I have to document my spouse's death?
If you were widowed within the past 30 days, you may be asked to present a certified copy of your late spouse's death certificate.
How do I change my name after marriage?
Your marriage certificate authorizes a name change. You can use an online name change service to help complete necessary forms.
Do I have to bring witnesses to my ceremony?
Witnesses are not required to attend your marriage ceremony.
Who can preside over our marriage?
Your marriage may be solemnized a family court judge, circuit judge, minister, priest, rabbi, or authorized representative of any religious organization.
Must officiants be registered?
When must the marriage license go back?
Your marriage license must be returned to the county clerk for registration by the sixth day of the next month that follows the ceremony.
Who's responsible for returning the marriage license?
Anyone—you, the officiant, a friend, etc—can return the marriage license by hand or mail.
How do I get a copy of my marriage certificate?
You can order a certified copy of your marriage certificate for $5 from the county clerk's office that issued your license.
Who is authorized to order a copy of my marriage record?
West Virginia is not an open records state. Therefore, only you, your child, or your grandchild can request a copy of your marriage certificate.
Do I have to register an out-of-state marriage in West Virginia?
West Virginia residents who marry out-of-state can optionally register their marriage certificate with the county clerk's office in their county of residence.
Can I get married by proxy?
Marriage-by-proxy is not permitted in West Virginia.
Can I marry my first cousin?
You may only marry a first cousin if not related by blood.
Can I marry a member of my family?
You cannot marry a grandparent, parent, child, grandchild, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, or blood-related first cousin.
Can I marry my half-sibling, ex-stepparent, or ex-stepchild?
Family intermarriage prohibitions apply to half-siblings and non-blood relationships established through marriage.
Can I enter into a common-law marriage?
You cannot enter into a common-law marriage in West Virginia. However, the state does recognize legally established out-of-state common-law marriages.