Marriage License Application
According to the Michigan State Legislature, Marriage License Act 128 - Section 551.101, Sec. 1, "If both parties to be married are non-residents of the state, it shall be necessary to obtain such license from the county clerk of the county in which the marriage is to be performed."
If you are unsure of which county your venue is located in, please call the Berrien County Clerk's Office at (269) 983-7111 Ext. 8233 before applying for your marriage license.
Administration Center - 701 Main Street, St. Joseph
Niles Courthouse - 1205 N. Front Street, Niles
The following is a summary of the marriage laws of Michigan for both residents and non-residents:
- Michigan residents must apply in the county of residence of one of the applicants. Non-residents must be married in the county where they make application.
- Both applicants must be 18 years of age or older. There are no exceptions per signed legislation by the Governor on October 9th, 2023. Applicants under 18 years of age should call the Probate Court for more detailed information.
- Valid identification and social security number are required for both persons making application. Valid identification may consist of a current driver's license or state I.D. I.D. must show current valid address.
- On January 1, 2001, Michigan's Premarital law (Public Act 209 of 2000) went into effect. This law eliminated the requirement for a blood test or premarital counseling of couples applying for a marriage license. Instead, the law requires that couples be provided educational materials regarding prenatal care and the transmission and prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
- Once the above requirements have been met, the couple may apply for their license. One applicant may make the application in person as long as he/she has the necessary information and I.D. for both parties, unless you apply online - then both applicants must appear.
*Note: For an Online marriage, both applicants must be present to pick the marriage license up. Their address on their current I.D. must match what was entered on the application – if it does not, this will cause problems with a possible delay of receiving the license.
- There is a three day waiting period. The waiting period consists of three days from the day of application. The license may be picked up at the office where you applied on or after the third day unless that day is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday. In that case, the license may be picked up on the first working day after the weekend or holiday. Be prepared to provide the identification information mentioned above.
- The license is valid for 33 days from the first day after the date of application. Please be sure to pick up your marriage license BEFORE the wedding, as the marriage will not be legal without it. You CANNOT backdate a marriage license.
- The fee is $20.00 for Michigan residents and $30.00 for out-of-state residents. Michigan marriage licenses must be used in the State of Michigan. All participating witnesses to the ceremony must be 18 years of age or older.
- The Administration Center hours are 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Niles Courthouse office hours are 9:00 a.m. - noon, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Marriage applications/licenses will be processed until 4:30 p.m. (excluding the lunch hour at the Niles location) Please allow 30 minutes for processing when you pick up your marriage license.
WHO MAY SOLEMNIZE MARRIAGES IN THE STATE OF MICHIGAN?
Who may perform marriages in Michigan is governed by law MCL 551.7. Marriages may be solemnized by any of the following:
- A judge of the district court, anywhere in this state.
- A district court magistrate, anywhere in this state.
- A municipal judge, in the city in which the judge is serving or in a township over which a municipal court has jurisdiction under section 9928 of the revised judicature act of 1961, 1961 PA 236, MCL 600.9928.
- A judge of probate, anywhere in this state.
- A judge of a federal court.
- A mayor of a city, anywhere in a county in which that city is located.
- A county clerk in the county in which the clerk serves, or in another county with the written authorization of the clerk of the other county.
- For a county having more than 1,500,000 inhabitants, an employee of the county clerk's office designated by the county clerk, in the county in which the clerk serves.
- A minister of the gospel or cleric or religious practitioner, anywhere in this state, if the minister or cleric or religious practitioner is ordained or authorized to solemnize marriages according to the usages of the denomination.
- A minister of the gospel or cleric or religious practitioner, anywhere in this state, if the minister or cleric or religious practitioner is not a resident of this state but is authorized to solemnize marriages under the laws of the state in which the minister or cleric or religious practitioner resides.
A person authorized by this act to solemnize a marriage shall keep proper records and return licenses and certificates as required by section 4 of 1887 PA 128, MCL 551.104.
If a mayor of a city solemnizes a marriage, the mayor shall charge and collect a fee to be determined by the council of that city, which shall be paid to the city treasurer and deposited in the general fund of the city at the end of the month.
If the county clerk or, in a county having more than 1,500,000 inhabitants, an employee of the clerk's office designated by the county clerk solemnizes a marriage, the county clerk shall charge and collect a fee to be determined by the commissioners of the county in which the clerk serves. The fee shall be paid to the treasurer for the county in which the clerk serves and deposited in the general fund of that county at the end of the month.
History: R.S. 1846, Ch. 83;---CL 1857, 3210;---CL 1871, 4725;-Am. 1873, Act 85, Eff. July 31, 1873;-How. 6215;---CL 1897, 8594;-Am. 1903, Act 139, Eff. Sept. 17, 1903;-Am. 1909, Act 235, Eff. Sept. I, 1909;---CL 1915, 11368;---CL 1929, 12696;-Am. 1931, Act 28, Imd. Eff. Apr. 21, 1931;-Am. 1937, Act 42, Eff. Oct. 29, 1937;---CL 1948, 551.7;-Am. 1972, Act 211, Eff. July 1, 1972;-Am. 1975, Act 175, Imd. Eff. July 20, 1975;-Am. 1979, Act 24, Imd. Eff. June 6, 1979;-Am. 1983, Act 64, Imd. Eff. May 26, 1983;-Am. 2006, Act 419, Imd. Eff. Sept. 29, 2006;-Am. 2006, Act 613, Imd. Eff. Jan. 3, 2007;-Am. 2008, Act 47, Imd. Eff. Mar. 27, 2008;-Am. 2012, Act 265, Imd. Eff. July 3, 2012;-Am. 2014, Act 278, Imd. Eff. July 2, 2014.