Marriage Applications Information
WHO CAN MARRY IN OHIO?
Persons 18 years of age or older and who are not nearer of kin than second cousins may be licensed to marry by the State of Ohio (Ohio Revised Code 3101.01(A)). Neither party may have a husband or wife living. If the former spouse of one seeking to marry is not deceased, the person seeking to marry and the former spouse must have been legally divorced or had their marriage annulled by a court of law. (Ohio Revised Code Section 3101.01(A) and 2919.01(A)).
Persons 17 years of age may be licensed to marry only with the prior consent of the Juvenile Court (Ohio Revised Code Section 3101.02(A)). Persons under 17 years of age may not be licensed to marry by the State of Ohio.
Ohio Revised Code Section 3101.01(A) also limits marriage to between one man and one woman. However, in 2015 in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, the United States Supreme Court found such a restriction to be unconstitutional as applied to same sex couples and Ohio Probate courts now issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.
HOW DO I APPLY FOR A MARRIAGE LICENSE?
Generally, both persons seeking a marriage license are required to personally appear together at the Probate Court of the county in Ohio where one of the Applicants resides. If neither Applicant is a resident of Ohio, the couple shall make application in the Probate Court of the county in which the ceremony will be performed. The requirement that both Applicants personally appear at the Probate Court to apply may be excused only if the Court finds that one of the parties is unable to appear due to illness or other physical disability. The illness or other disability must be documented by an affidavit from a practicing physician who resides in the county where the Application is being made (Ohio Revised Code Section 3101.05(A)).
The Marriage License Application must be completed online. The applicants are required to bring the printed and unsigned copy of the Marriage License Application to the Allen County Probate Court, 1000 Wardhill Ave., Lima, OH between the hours of 8:30 A.M. and 4:00 P.M. (daily except legal holidays or other authorized closures). The Marriage License Application must be signed under oath by both Applicants in the presence of a Deputy Clerk at the Allen County Probate Court.
Applicants who were previously married will need to provide the following information:
1) names of both parties to the previous marriage
2) names and ages of any minor children born of the previous marriage
3) the jurisdiction, date and case number of the decree of divorce.
Each Applicant must present a government issued photo ID (driver’s license, state ID, passport, visa) to the Deputy Clerk at the time of signing the Application. If either party has been previously divorced or had a prior marriage dissolved, that party must bring a copy of the divorce or dissolution decree when appearing at the Probate Court to submit the Application for the marriage license. The cost for making the Application is $50.00 and must be paid at the time the Application is submitted.
The Probate Court is not permitted to issue a marriage license if either Applicant is under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, or is infected with syphilis in a form that is communicable or likely to become communicable (Ohio Revise Code Section 3101.06).
HOW LONG DO WE HAVE AFTER THE LICENSE IS ISSUED FOR THE MARRIAGE CEREMONY TO BE PERFORMED?
The marriage ceremony must be performed within sixty (60) days after the license is issued by the Probate Court (Ohio Revised Code Section 3101.07). If the marriage ceremony is not performed within sixty (60) days, the license expires and a new Marriage License Application must be submitted.
WHO CAN PERFORM A MARRIAGE CEREMONY?
Generally, a marriage ceremony may be performed by any ordained or licensed minister of any religious society or congregation who is licensed to solemnize marriages in the State of Ohio. A registry of persons licensed to solemnize marriages in the State of Ohio is available from the Office of the Ohio Secretary of State at www.sos.state.oh.us, and you are encouraged to check that listing to confirm that the minister or officiant you intend to perform the ceremony is properly licensed to do so. The marriage ceremony may also be performed by municipal, probate, and county court judges and by municipal mayors (Ohio Revised Code Section 3101.08).
The person performing the ceremony is required to return the certificate of marriage to the Probate Court that issued the license not later than thirty (30) days after the wedding is performed (Ohio Revised Code Section 3101.13).