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United States Marriage Laws Broken Down by State and Territory

published April 14, 2015

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Summary: Here are the marriage laws in the United States broken down by state and territory, including the age of consent, same-sex marriage, and more.

State or other jurisdiction Age at which marriage can be contracted with parental consent Age below which parental consent is required Common-
law
marriage
Same-sex
marriage

Physical examination and
blood test for male and female/
Maximum period between examination Scope of and issuance medical
Waiting period before
issuance of license
Waiting period after
issuance of license
  Male Female Male Female          
Alabama 16 (1)(25) 16 (1X25) 18 18 *85     (25) 30 da.
Alaska 14 (48)(55) 14 (48X55) 18 18 Recognized before 1917     3 da. (19) 90 da.
Arizona 16 (22X25) 16 (22X25) 18 18 (23)       1 yr.
Arkansas 17 (5X25) 16 (5)(25) 18 18 (23) (61)   (56X63) 1 yr. (18)
California (2X10X21) (2X10X21) 18 18 (23) (61) (43)   90 da.
Colorado 16 (22X64) 16 (22X64) 18 18 (57) (34)     35 da.
Connecticut 16 (22X33) 16 (22X33) 18 18   (61)     65 da.
Delaware (2X22) (2)(22) 18 18 (23) (61)   24 hrs. (20) 30 da. (42)
Florida 16 (1X5X35) 16 (1X5X35) 18 18 Recognized before 1/2/1968     (36) 60 da.
Georgia 16 (10) 16 (10) 18 18 Recognized before 1/1/1997 (23)   (31)    
Hawaii 15 (10) 15 (10) 18 18 (23) (61) (58)   30 da.
Idaho 16 (22) 16 (22) 18 18 Recognized before 1/1/1996 (23)   (8)    
Illinois 16 (32) 16 (32) 18 18 Recognized before 7/1/1905 (61) (37) 1 da. (9) 60 da.
Indiana (2X22X25) (2X22X25) 18 18 Recognized before 1/2/1958   (31)   60 da.
Iowa 16 (10) 16 (10) 18 18 *(23) (61)   3 da. (19)  
Kansas 16 (10X22) 16 (10X22) 18 18 *(23)     3 da. (19) 180 da.
Kentucky 16 (5X25) 16 (5)(25) 18 18 (23)       30 da.
Louisiana 16 (22X52) 16 (22X52) 18 18         30 da.
Maine 16 (10X22) 16 (10X22) 18 18   (61) (44)   90 da.
Maryland 16 (5X7) 16 (5X7) 18 18 (23) (61)   48 hrs. (19) 180 da.
Massachusetts (2X10) (2X10) 18 18   (61)   3 da. (18X19) 60 da.
Michigan 16 16 18 18 Recognized before 1/1/1957 (23)     3 da. (19) 33 da. (60)
Minnesota 16 (10) 16 (10) 18 18 Recognized before 4/27/1941 (23) (61)   5 da. (19) 180 da.
Mississippi 17 (22X39) 15 (22X39) 21 21 Recognized before 4/5/1956 (23)   (3) 3 da. (19)  
Missouri 15 (6) 15 (6) 18 18 (54       30 da.
Montana 16 (10X25) 16 (10X25) 18 18 *(23X62)   (26)   180 da.
Nebraska 17 17 19 19 Recognized before 1/1/1923 (23) (61) (53)   1 yr.
Nevada 16 (6) 16 (6) 18 18 Recognized before 3/29/1943 (40) (34)     lyr.
New Hampshire 14 (11) 13(11) 18 18 (23X46) (61)     90da.(60)
New Jersey 16 (22) 16 (22) 18 18 Recognized before 12/1/1939 (61) (47) 72 hrs. (19) 30 da.
New Mexico 16 (5)(6)(10) 16 (5X6X10) 18 18 Recognized before 4/13/1905 (23) (61)      
New York 16 (22) 16 (22) 18 18 Recognized before 1/1/1902 and from 1/1/1908 to 4/29/1933 (23) (61) (13X52) 24 hrs. (9) 60 da.
North Carolina 17 (5X6) 17 (5)(6) 18 18 (23X40)     60 da.  
North Dakota 16 16 18 18 (23)       60 da.
Ohio 18 (12X65) 16 (12) 18 (12) 18 (12) Recognized before 10/10/1991 (23) 18 (12) Recognized before 10/10/1991 (23) (61)     60 da.
Oklahoma 16 (5) 16 (5) 18 18 Recognized before 11/1/1998 (23)(49) (61)   (14) 30 da.
Oregon 17 (15) 17 (15) 18 18 (23) (61) (50) 3 da. (19) 60 da.
Pennsylvania 16 (6X22) 16 (6X22) 18 18 Recognized before 1/2/2005 (45) (61) (3X4) 3 da. (19) 60 da.
Puerto Rico 18 (66) 16 (66) 21 21     (3X25)    
Rhode Island 16 (6X22X25) 16 (6X22X25) 18 18 * (61) (50)   90 da.
South Carolina 16 (5) 16 (5) 18 18 *     1 da.  
South Dakota 16 16 18 18 Recognized before 7/1/1959 (23)   (67)   20 da.
Tennessee 16 (6)(22) 16 (6X22) 18 18 (23)     3 da. (7X19) 30 da.
Texas (16)(17) 16 (10) 16 (10) 18 18 *(23)   (31) 72 hrs. (19X25) 90 da. 72hre. (19X25) 90 da.
Utah 15 (1)(10)(25) 15 (1)(10)(25) 15 (1)(10)(25) 18 (1) 18 (1) (30       30 da.
Vermont 16 16 18 18   (61)     60 da.
Virginia 16 (1X5) 16 (1)(5) 18 (1) 18 (1) (23)   (68)   60 da.
Washington 17 (6X22) 17 (6X22) 18 18 (23) (61) (4) 3 da. 60 da.
West Virginia 16 (6X22) 16 (6X22) 18 18 (23)     (19X59) 60 da.
Wisconsin 16 16 18 18     (24)(50) 5 da. (19) 30 da.
Wyoming 16 (6X22) 16 (6X22) 18 18 (23)       lyr.
Dist. of Columbia 16 (1) 16 (1) 18 18 * (61)   3 da.  
Virgin Islands 16 (1) 14 (1) 18 18 (23)     8 da. (19)  

* Indicates common-law marriage recognized, f Indicates covenant marriage recognized.

(1) Parental consent not required if minor was previously married.

(2) No age limits.

(3) In Puerto Rico, applicant must be free from mental illness, mental retardation and mental deficiencies if impediments affect capacity to contract, and also free from STDs. In Mississippi, the clerk may not issue a marriage license when it appears to the clerk that the applicants, or either of them, are suffering from a mental illness or an intellectual disability, which affects the ability of the applicants) to understand the nature and consequences of the application for a marriage license. In Pennsylvania, no marriage license may be issued if either of the applicants for a license is weak minded, insane, or of unsound mind unless the court decides that it is for the best interest of the applicant and the public to issue the license and authorizes the issuance of the license.

(4) In Pennsylvania, no exam required, but applicants must file a statement that neither of the applicants is afflicted with transmissible disease. In Washington, no exam required, but applicants must file an affidavit showing that if an applicant is afflicted with a contagious STD, the condition is known to both applicants, and that the applicants are at least 18 years old.

(5) Younger parties may obtain license in case of pregnancy or birth of child. In Maryland, a party that is at least 15 years old may marry if they have the consent of a parent or guardian and either party to be married gives the clerk a certificate from a licensed physician, licensed physician assistant, or certified nurse practitioner stating that the physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner has examined the woman to be married and has found that she is pregnant or has given birth to a child. In Oklahoma, parties under 16 may obtain license when authorized by the Court in settlement of a suit for seduction or paternity or in case of pregnancy or birth of child. In South Carolina, a marriage license may be issued to an unmarried male and an unmarried female who are under 18, if such female is pregnant or has borne a child, under the following conditions: 1) the pregnancy or birth of the child is established by the report or certificate of at least one physician; 2) the female and the putative father agree to marry; 3) written consent to the marriage is given by one of the parents of the female; 4) without regard to the age of the female and male; and 5) without any requirement for any further consent to the marriage of the male.

(6) Statute establishes procedure whereby younger parties may obtain license in special circumstances.

(7) In Maryland, a party at least 16 years old may marry if they have consent of parent or guardian and the parent or guardian swears the party is at least 16 years old. If a party of at least 16 years of age does not have consent of a parent or guardian, they may marry if either party to be married gives the clerk a certificate from a licensed physician, licensed physician assistant, or certified nurse practitioner stating that the physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner has examined the woman to be married and has found that she is pregnant or has given birth to a child.

(8) Applicants must receive AIDS information pamphlet and certify having read it.

(9) License effective 1 day after issuance, unless court orders otherwise, valid for 60 days only.

(10) Parental consent and/or permission of judge required.

(11) Judge can grant permission to marry to anyone under 18, no younger than 14 year old male and 13 year old female. In New Hampshire, must be 18 years old to enter into same sex marriage.

(12) Applicants under age 18 must state that they have had marriage counseling.

(13) Test for sickle cell anemia may be requested for certain applicants.

(14) If one or both parties are under 18, 3 day waiting period prior to issuance of marriage license.

(15) If a party has no parent residing within state, and one party has residence within state for six months, no permission required.

(16) Marriages by proxy are valid.

(17) Statute authorizes proxy marriage under certain conditions.

(18) Parties must file notice of intention to marry with local clerk.

(19) Statute establishes procedure whereby waiting period may be avoided.

(20) Time may be shortened.

(21) Counties may require premarital counseling for persons under 19 or previously divorced.

(22) Younger parties may marry with parental consent and permission of judge. In Delaware, parties under 18 may marry if their parent or guardian petitions the Court for an order allowing the party to many and the Court issues an Order allowing the party to many. In Indiana, parties under 18 may marry with parental consent or permission of a judge. In Kansas, parties aged 15 may marry with permission of judge. In New York, parties under age 16, but at least 14, may marry with parental consent and permission of judge.

(23) Common law marriage, if valid where contracted, recognized. In New York, a common-law marriage, valid where contracted, will be recognized even where the parties to the marriage are New York residents. Even a brief stay in a jurisdiction recognizing common-law marriage may result in a finding of common-law marriage. In Georgia, for there to be a common law marriage, the parties must be able to contract, agree to live together as husband and wife, must be entered into before Jan. 1,1997, and consummate the agreement.

(24) Application shall contain such information as directed by the department of health services.

(25) Other statutory requirements apply.

(26) Female applicants for a marriage license, unless exempted for medical reasons, must file a medical certificate from a physician stating that the applicant has been given a blood test for rubella immunity, that the report of the test results has been shown to the applicant tested, and that the other party to the proposed marriage has examined the report. Instead of filing a medical certificate, applicants for a marriage license may file an informed consent form declining rubella testing.

(27) No statutory authorization for proxy marriage, but May 11,1943 opinion of Attorney General that such marriage is valid, but new ceremony when possible recommended.

(28) In New York, proxy marriages are not authorized by statute, but because they are not contrary to public policy or natural law, New York will recognize as valid a proxy marriage if valid in state where contracted.

(29) Proxy marriage between a person present in Puerto Rico and one absent is permitted.

(30) Unsolemnized marriage arising out of contract is valid if court or administrative order finds two parties: (i) capable of consent; (ii) legally capable of solemnized marriage; (iii) have cohabitated; (iv) mutually assume marital rights, duties and obligations; and (v) contend and are believed to be husband and wife. Determination must be made during or within 1 year of termination of relationship.

(31) Must be provided with information on AIDS and tests available. In Georgia, must be provided with information on sickle cell disease and tests available. In Indiana, must be provided with information on AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases and tests available.

(32) Judicial consent may be given when parents refuse to consent.

(33) If under age party is under care of guardian or conservator, written consent of the conservator signed in presence of witness and notarized must be filed with the registrar.

(34) In Colorado and Nevada, same-sex couples are eligible for certain benefits under state law.

(35) No consent required if both parents are deceased.

(36) Both parties must file a statement specifying completion of a premarital preparatory course and both parties must also file a statement that they have read or accessed information from the Family Law Handbook. Failure to do so will delay effective date of marriage license by 3 days. However, exceptions to the delayed effective date may be granted under certain circumstances.

(37) All applicants for a marriage license shall be provided a brochure concerning sexually transmitted diseases and inherited metabolic diseases. With each marriage license, the county clerk shall provide parties with a pamphlet describing the causes and effects of fetal alcohol syndrome.

(38) In certain circumstances, marriage between two minors is not void or voidable merely because it was contracted without parental consent.

(39) If a party to a marriage is not of legal age to marry, the party must have parental consent and must also submit an affidavit written by the parent or guardian of the party confirming the age of the party along with their application for a marriage license.

(40) Marriages according to Native American customs sure recognized.

(41) Marriages between Jews within degrees of consanguinity permitted by their religion are valid.

(42) Clerk of Peace has discretion to lengthen time period, up to 180 days.

(43) Parties must be provided state-prepared brochure covering genetic defects, AIDS, domestic violence and options for name change.

(44) Parties must be provided state-prepared brochure covering effects of drugs and alcohol on fetus.

(45) Common law marriage valid if entered into prior to 1/2/2005.

(46) Individuals cohabiting and acknowledging each other as husband and wife for the period of 3 years and until the death of one of them, shall thereafter be deemed to have been legally married (see N.H. Rev. Stat. § 457.39).

(47) A licensing officer or other person issuing marriage licenses shall make information available to applicants concerning where they may be tested for genetic diseases including Cooley's Anemia, Sickle Cell Anemia, and Tay-Sachs Disease.

(48) Age 16 if have parental consent. If Age 14, Superior Court judge may grant permission to wed if the judge finds, following a hearing at which the parents and the minor are given the opportunity to be heard, that the marriage is in the best interest of the minor and that either the parents give consent or the parents are absent, in disagreement among themselves regarding the marriage, are unfit, or are arbitrarily withholding consent.

(49) Possibly only if created before November 1,1998. Oklahoma's laws and court decisions may be in conflict about whether common law marriages formed in that state after November 1,1998 will be recognized.

(50) Pamphlet on fetal alcohol syndrome provided with marriage license.

(51) Oral examination of parties by clerk issuing marriage license required except for active duty military members.

(52) Information on Rubella and the Thalassemia Trait and other inherited conditions required with marriage license.

(53) Persons afflicted by venereal disease may not marry.

(54) Common law marriages null and void.

(55) Parental consent can be voided by circuit court judge if marriage is not in the best interest of the minor.

(56) Social security numbers must be provided to obtain marriage license. If an applicant does not have a Social Security number, the clerk shall note this representation on the marriage license application.

(57) Common law marriage entered on or after 9/1/2006 not recognized unless, at the time the marriage was entered into, each party is 18 years of age or older and the marriage is not otherwise prohibited.

(58) Requires information on Rubella, AIDS, population stabilization, birth control, fetal alcohol and drug syndromes, and family planning to be provided to each applicant for a marriage license.

(59) Waiting period is 2 days if either or both applicants under 18 years of age.

(60) In Michigan, marriage license expires 33 days after date of application, not issuance oflicense. In New Hampshire, marriage license expires 90 days after date of application, not issuance oflicense.

(61) Delaware, effective July 1, 2013; Minnesota and Rhode Island, effective August 1, 2013; California, effective June 28, 2013; Connecticut, effective November 12, 2008; Hawaii, effective December 2, 2013; Illinois, effective June 1, 2014; Iowa, effective April 27, 2009; Maine, effective December 29, 2012; Maryland, effective January 1, 2013; Massachusetts, effective May 17, 2004; New Hampshire, effective January 1, 2010; New Jersey, effective October 21, 2013; New Mexico, effective December 19, 2013; New York, effective July 24, 2011; Oregon, effective May 19,2014; Pennsylvania, effective May 20, 2014; Vermont, effective September 1, 2009; Washington, effective December 6, 2012; District of Columbia, effective March 3, 2010.

(62) Other requirements, set forth in case law, apply.

(63) If the parties obtaining the marriage license are under 18, there is a 5-day waiting period before the license is issued.

(64) In Colorado, parties aged 16 may marry if they have no parent or guardian, no parent or guardian capable of consenting to their marriage, or if they have a parent or guardian who has not consented to their marriage. However, the Court must find that the party is able to assume the responsibilities of marriage and that the marriage would serve their best interests.

(65) In Ohio, male individuals must be at least 18 to marry, but they do not need parental consent to marry.

(66) In Puerto Rico, parties who are at least 18 do not need parental consent or permission of the Court to marry where it is proven that the betrothed woman has been raped, seduced, or is pregnant.

(67) In South Dakota, at the time parties file an application for a marriage license, they shall receive educational materials regarding STDs, HIV, and prenatal care. The materials shall include a list of locations where counseling and testing services are available.

(68) Information regarding the prevention of birth defects must be distributed to applicants for marriage licenses.

Note: All states prohibit marriage between persons of varying degrees of consanguinity.

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