Idaho Wedding Laws
Drafted and last reviewed for accuracy by the Idaho marriage law team at the Universal Life Church Ministries on
As the Gem State, Idaho is a natural place to want to hold your nuptials. In fact, this state is the home of the discovery of the largest diamond. Marrying here is even more perfect thanks to the mountains and breathtaking views.
If you are ready to wed in Idaho, there are a few important marriage laws you need to know. This state takes a unique approach that could throw some roadblocks in your way if you don't know about them ahead of time.
Getting Married in Idaho
The state does not require wedding ceremonies to follow specific guidelines. A couple may choose to do whatever they want at their wedding as long as they meet U.S. federal law requirements. Federal law states that a wedding ceremony must include both parties consenting to the marriage, which usually occurs during the exchange of vows portion of a wedding.
Idaho does not require witnesses for the wedding because it recognizes the officiant as a witness.
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32-304. Form of ceremony. No particular form for the ceremony of marriage is required, but the parties must declare, in the presence of the person solemnizing the marriage that they take each other as husband and wife.
Idaho Marriage Requirements
Same-sex couples are welcome to marry in this state thanks to the Supreme Court ruling making it legal across the country. However, marriage between family members who share the same bloodline is not legal. This includes nieces and nephews, first cousins and descendants of every degree.
In addition, Idaho limits marriage to those who are age 18 or older. Minors who are at least 16 years old may be able to marry if they have written consent from their legal guardian or parent. The court must also approve the union, and it requires a physician to sign off on the physical and mental capabilities of the minor to perform marital duties.
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Idaho Code Ann. § 32-302. PERSONS WHO MAY MARRY.
Any unmarried male of the age of eighteen (18) years or older, and any unmarried female of the age of eighteen (18) years or older, and not otherwise disqualified, are capable of consenting to and consummating marriage. Provided that if the male party to the contract is under the age of eighteen (18) and not less than sixteen (16) years of age, or if the female party to the contract is under the age of eighteen (18) and not less than sixteen (16) years of age, the license shall not be issued except upon the consent in writing duly acknowledged and sworn to by the father, mother or guardian of any such person if there be either, and provided further, that no such license may be issued, if the male be under eighteen (18) years of age and the female under eighteen (18) years of age, unless each party to the contract submits to the county recorder his or her original birth certificate, or certified copy thereof or other proof of age acceptable to the county recorder. Provided further, that where the female is under the age of sixteen (16), or the male is under the age of sixteen (16), the license shall not issue except upon the consent in writing duly acknowledged or sworn to by the father, mother or guardian of such person if there be any such, and upon order of the court. Such order shall be secured upon petition of any interested party which petition shall show that the female minor under the age of sixteen (16), or the male minor under the age of sixteen (16), is physically and/or mentally so far developed as to assume full marital and parental duties, and/or that it is to the best interest of society that the marriage be permitted. A hearing shall be had on such petition forthwith or at such time and upon such notice as the court may designate. The judge shall secure from a physician his opinion as an expert as to whether said person is sufficiently developed mentally and physically to assume full marital duties. If said court is satisfied from the evidence that such person is capable of assuming full marital duties and/or that it is to the best interest of society, said court shall make an order to that effect, and a certified copy of said order shall be filed with the county recorder preliminary to the issuance of a marriage license for the marriage of such person and said order of the court shall be the authority for the county recorder to issue such license.
Idaho Code Ann. § 32-205. INCESTUOUS MARRIAGES. Marriages between parents and children, ancestors and descendants of every degree, and between brothers and sisters of the half (1/2) as well as the whole blood, and between uncles and nieces, or aunts and nephews, are incestuous, and void from the beginning, whether the relationship is legitimate or illegitimate.
How to Become a Wedding Officiant in Idaho
Some counties within Idaho will require proof that the officiant of a wedding ceremony has the legal right to perform marriages in the state. This might include ordination credentials or a letter of good standing.
The state recognizes the right to act as a wedding officiant regardless of religious affiliation or gender. A person must be at least 18 years old and a current or former governor or a justice of the supreme court, court of appeals or district court, a current federal or tribal judge, mayor or lieutenant governor, tribal official, priest or minister.
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32-401. Marriage license — Contents. The county recorder of any county in this state shall have authority to issue marriage licenses to any parties applying for the same who may be entitled under the laws of this state to contract matrimony, authorizing the marriage of such parties, which licenses shall be substantially in the following form:
Know all men by this certificate that any regularly ordained minister of the gospel, authorized by the rites and usages of the church or denomination or religious body of which he may be a member, or any judge or competent officer to whom this may come, he not knowing of any lawful impediment thereto, is hereby authorized and empowered to solemnize the rites of matrimony between…., of…. of the county of…., and the state of…., and…., of…. of the county of…., state of…., and to certify the same to said parties, or either of them, under his hand and seal, in his ministerial or official capacity, and thereupon he is required to return his certificate in form following as hereto annexed.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the seal of said county, at…., this…. day of….,…..
Idaho Code Ann. § 32-303. BY WHOM SOLEMNIZED. Marriage may be solemnized by any of the following Idaho officials: a current or retired justice of the supreme court, a current or retired court of appeals judge, a current or retired district judge, the current or a former governor, the current lieutenant governor, a current or retired magistrate of the district court, a current mayor or by any of the following: a current federal judge, a current tribal judge of an Idaho Indian tribe or other tribal official approved by an official act of an Idaho Indian tribe or priest or minister of the gospel of any denomination. To be a retired justice of the supreme court, court of appeals judge, district judge or magistrate judge of the district court, for the purpose of solemnizing marriages, a person shall have served in one (1) of those offices and shall be receiving a retirement benefit from either the judges retirement system or the public employee retirement system for service in the Idaho judiciary.
Applying For a Marriage License in Idaho
A completely filled out license must go back to the recorder after the wedding. It is important to return it to the exact office where the couple secured it. There is no true expiration date on the license, but if a couple does not return it quickly after the ceremony, within 30 days to be specific, then they may have to pay a fine of $50 and face misdemeanor charges.
In addition, the couple may need to contact the Idaho Bureau of Vital Health and Statistics before they can marry if the license is over a year old.
A couple can use a marriage license obtained in Idaho anywhere within the state.
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Idaho Code Ann. § 32-402. Certificate and return. The form of certificate annexed to said license, and therein referred to, shall be as follows:
I,…., a…., residing at…., in the county of…., in the state of Idaho, do certify that, in accordance with the authority on me conferred by the above license, I did on this…. day of…., in the year…., at…., in the county of…., in the state of Idaho, solemnize the rights of matrimony between…., of…., in the county of…., of the state of…., and…., of…., of the county of…., of the state of…., in the presence of…. and…..
Witness my hand and seal at the county aforesaid, this…. day of….,…..
In the presence of….. .... [Seal]
The license and certificate, duly executed by the minister or officer who shall have solemnized the marriage authorized, shall be returned by him to the office of the recorder who issued the same, within thirty (30) days from the date of solemnizing the marriage therein authorized; and a neglect to make such return shall be deemed a misdemeanor, and the person whose duty it shall be to make such return, who shall neglect to make such return within the time above specified, shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine of not less than twenty dollars ($20.00) nor more than fifty dollars ($50.00) to be assessed by any court having jurisdiction.
How to Get a Idaho Marriage License
The couple must submit an application in person at the county recorder's office to secure a marriage license prior to the wedding ceremony. License fees average about $30, but some locations will charge extra if a couple wishes to secure a license on Saturday.
If either person was previously in a marriage, then the recorder may request a death certificate of the former spouse or divorce documents.
The marriage license application requires a Social Security number from each person. The reason for this is to prove the person is a legal resident or citizen of the United States. If someone does not have one, then he or she must have an affidavit explaining the lack of number and will need to provide additional proof of identity. This may include a passport or birth certificate, but the recorder can ask for any type of documentation he or she needs.
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Idaho Code Ann. § 32-403. APPLICATION FOR AND ISSUANCE OF LICENSE. (1) Every county recorder who shall have personal knowledge of the competency of the parties for whose marriage a license is applied for, shall issue such license upon payment or tender to him of his legal fee therefor; and if such recorder does not know of his own knowledge that the parties are competent under the laws of the state to contract matrimony, he shall take the affidavit in writing of the person or persons applying for such license, and of other persons as he may see proper, and of any persons whose testimony may be offered; and if it appears from the affidavit so taken that the parties for whose marriage the license in question is demanded are legally competent to marry, the recorder shall issue such license, and the affidavits so taken shall be his warrant against any fine or forfeiture for issuing such license. Provided, however, that in the event either of the parties for whose marriage the license in question is applied for is under the age of eighteen (18) years, the recorder shall not issue such license except upon compliance with the consent and proof of age requirements set forth in section 32-202, Idaho Code.
(2) Every application for a marriage license shall include the social security numbers of the parties applying for the license.
(a) The requirement that an applicant provide a social security number shall apply only to applicants who have been assigned a social security number.
(b) An applicant who has not been assigned a social security number shall:
(i) Present written verification from the social security administration that the applicant has not been assigned a social security number; and
(ii) Submit a birth certificate, passport or other documentary evidence issued by an entity other than a state or the United States; and
(iii) Submit such proof as the department may require that the applicant is lawfully present in the United States.
Finalizing the Union
Once the ceremony is over, the officiant must complete the marriage license. He or she must provide information about him or herself, including address and name. The officiant must also provide details on when and where the wedding ceremony took place and the names of the couple. To finalize the document, he or she must sign it and return it to the recorder's office from which the couple obtained it.
The state does not recognize the legal marriage until the filing of the license. This should occur within 30 days of the ceremony. The court can charge a person with a misdemeanor crime for failure to resubmit the license.