License & Officiation

Categories :: Family Law > Marriage

Marriage Licenses

Prior to any marriage ceremony, a license must be obtained from the clerk of Circuit Court for the county, or Baltimore City, where the marriage will be performed.  Either party may apply for a license in person at the clerk’s office, except in Cecil County where both must apply together.  If either party has been married previously, the clerk must be told the date (day, month, year) and place of the former spouse’s death or of any annulment or divorce decree.

From the time of the application, an applicant must wait 48 hours before he or she can pick up the license.  There is a license fee.  Affixed to the license will be a certificate of marriage to be completed by the person performing the ceremony.

During the 48-hour waiting period, no marriage ceremony may be held unless special permission is given by a judge (usually for reasons of military service or pregnancy).  A license is valid for six months. A license merely authorizes the performance of the marriage.  It does not determine the manner in which a ceremony is to be conducted nor interfere with the rules and customs of any religious group.

In Maryland, there is no legal requirement for a blood test or other medical examination.Read the Law : MD Code Family Law §§ 2-401 thru 2-410

Officiating

Upon presentation of a license, the rites of marriages may be performed by any minister, or official or other member of a religious groups so authorized by the rules and customs of the group, or for a fee, by any clerk or designated deputy clerk of the Circuit Court of any county or Baltimore City.  After the ceremony, the person who performed the ceremony returns the certificate of marriage, signed with the  title of the authorized official who performs the marriage, to the clerk of the court issuing the license within 5 days to be recorded in the county or city records.  Copies of the certificate are available from the clerk’s office.Read the Law: MD Code Family Law §§ 2–406, 2-409

A marriage that does not comply with the rules listed above is considered unlawful. The fact that a marriage is considered unlawful does not automatically mean that the marriage is invalid (or “void”).  For example, although a person who performs a marriage ceremony for a couple without a license may be fined, the marriage itself is valid.  A marriage is also valid if (unknown to the couple) a person without authority performs the ceremony.

Is this legal advice?

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