Getting Married in Maryland
Here is what you need to bring with you, and what you need to know about the Maryland marriage laws before filling out the Maryland marriage license form. Requirements may vary from county to county, so check with the clerk in the county where your ceremony is to be held. You MUST present a valid license for that specific city/county or a ceremony cannot take place.
If you are an adult of legal age, you must provide identification in the form of a drivers license or birth certificate. Only one applicant needs to be present. In Maryland the license is good for six months.
When you apply for your license, you'll not only need a proof of identification and age, will need to provide any information about previous marriages, and will need to pay the associated license fee. Any party desiring to change his/her name can do so only AFTER the marriage has taken place. Typically, you will need to present a CERTIFIED copy of the marriage license which is obtained only after the completed and signed marriage license has been submitted to the clerk's office where it was originally obtained. To change your name, contact the Social Security administration: http://www.ssa.gov/gethelp1.htm
And, believe it or not, just because you have your marriage licensedoes not mean you are officially married. You need to have a minister, wedding officiant, "justice of the peace" or a religious clergyman sign the document. On your wedding day, you'll give your officiant your marriage license, then after the ceremony, he or she will sign it and send it to the proper government agency for validation.
ID Requirement: Picture ID such as a driver's license. You should know your Social Security numbers. You should both also know the city, state and country in which you were born. You may need to present proof of the death of a former spouse or know the city and state where a previous marriage was dissolved (divorced).
Residency Requirement: Do not have to be a resident of Maryland, but NO proxy application is permitted. You may apply for a license through the mail if you are out of state. Contact the issuing county for details.
Application Requirement: Either the bride or the groom must appear in person at the time of applying. Bring appropriate paperwork.
• Marriage license be obtained from the Circuit Court Clerk's Office in the county where the marriage is to take place. If, however, it is not convenient for you to visit the Clerk's Office in that county, you may apply using a Non-Resident Affidavit. Affidavits are available online at the Calvert, Kent, and Queen Anne's Circuit Court Clerks' web sites. Or obtain one from either your county or from the county in which you plan to marry.
Waiting Period: 2 days. The license is issued at the same time the application is taken; however, the license will reflect an effective time of 6am on the second day after the date of issue.
Fees: Vary from county to county.
Other Tests: No blood test requirement.
Under 18: Applicants under the age of 15 may not marry.However, an applicant who is 15 years old may only marry with the consent of a parent or guardian and with a certificate from a licensed physician verifying that an examination of the woman to be married indicated that she is pregnant or has given birth to a child. Applicants 16 or 17 years old may only marry with the consent of a parent or guardian who confirms that individual?s age or with a certificate from a licensed physician verifying that an examination of the woman to be married indicated that she is pregnant or has given birth to a child.
Common Law Marriages: Not recognized in MD. However, the State does recognize common law marriages that are valid in other states.
Civil Marriages: Maryland no longer employs Justices of the Peace to perform civil ceremonies. Instead, Only a Clerk of the Circuit Court or an appointed, designated Deputy Clerk of the Circuit Court may perform civil ceremonies IN the courthouse. The hours, location and fees for a civil ceremony vary from county to county. Visit the circuit courts website to locate the Clerk of the Circuit Court in your county. HOWEVER, a “civil” ceremony can be performed by any officiant (i.e. no mention of religion)
Officiants: Any member of clergy authorized by the rules and customs of their religious institution may perform marriages. Clergy must complete the marriage license and marriage certificate and give one certificate to the couple. The license must be returned to the clerk of the Clerk of the Circuit Court BY THE PERSON PERFORMING THE WEDDING within five days after the marriage.
Valid: License is valid for 6 months in MD. In DC, the license is valid indefinitely.
The license can only be used within the county, in the State of Maryland, where the marriage will take place.
***Please Note: State and county marriage license requirements often change. The above information is for guidance only and should not be regarded as legal advice. t is important that you verify all information with your local marriage license office or county clerk before making any wedding or travel plans.
Maryland County Clerk's Offices (clickable links take you to the correct page)
Prince Frederick, MD
La Plata, MD
Bel Air, MD
Ellicott City, MD
Upper Marlboro, MD
Princess Anne, MD
Snow Hill, MD