Kansas Wedding Laws
Drafted and last reviewed for accuracy by the Kansas marriage law team at the Universal Life Church Ministries on
While Kansas may be known for representing the immortalized “amber waves of grain,” one shouldn’t assume that there aren’t many regulations or requirements for legal marriage within its borders. As a minister, your clients depend on your assistance and guidance when it comes to state law compliance. At the Universal Life Church, we’ve put in the work to break down the law and processes to make sure that you’re not only fully equipped to officiate wedding ceremonies in Kansas, but also make sure that the marriages you solemnize are legally compliant and protected.
Getting Married in Kansas
For a marriage to be considered as legally solemnized in the state, both members of the couple must formally and mutually declare to be united in marriage; These declarations must be made in the presence of an authorized officiant as well as a minimum of two competent witnesses that are over the age of 18.
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It shall be unlawful for any person not a duly authorized officiating person as provided by K.S.A. 23-104a to perform the marriage ceremony in this state. Any person violating the provisions of this act shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars ($100) or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than six (6) months or by both such fine and imprisonment.
Kansas Marriage Requirements
In order to be legally married in the Sunflower State, each member of the couple must be at least 18 years old. Only with the written consent of both parents or legal guardians can 16- and 17-year-olds get married. Depending on the situation, a judge may also allow someone who is 15 to get married if that is found to be in the person’s best interest.
A marriage between persons who are closer than second cousins as blood relatives is deemed incestuous and void under state law. In compliance with the US Supreme Court’s federal rulings, same-sex and LGBTQ couples can be legally married in Kansas.
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(a) The clerks of the district courts or judges thereof, when applied to for a marriage license by any person who is one of the parties to the proposed marriage and who is legally entitled to a marriage license, shall issue a marriage license in substance as follows: MARRIAGE LICENSE (Name of place where office located, month, day and year.) TO ANY PERSON authorized by law to perform the marriage ceremony, Greeting: You are hereby authorized to join in marriage A B of ____________, date of birth _______, and C D of ____________, date of birth _______, (and name of parent or guardian consenting), and of this license, duly endorsed, you will make due return to this office immediately after performing the ceremony. E F, (title of person issuing the license). (b) No clerk or judge of the district court shall issue a marriage license before the third calendar day (Sunday and holidays included) following the date of the filing of the application therefor in such clerk's or judge's office except that in cases of emergency or extraordinary circumstances, a judge of the district court may upon proper showing being made, permit by order of the court the issuance of such marriage license without waiting three days. Each district court shall keep a record of all marriages resulting from licenses issued by the court, which record shall show the names of the persons who were married and the date of the marriage. (c) No clerk or judge shall issue a license authorizing the marriage of any person: (1) Under the age of 16 years, except that a judge of the district court may, after due investigation, give consent and issue the license authorizing the marriage of a person 15 years of age when the marriage is in the best interest of the person 15 years of age; or (2) who is 16 or 17 years of age without the express consent of such person's father, mother or legal guardian and the consent of the judge unless consent of both the mother and father and any legal guardian or all then living parents and any legal guardian is given in which case the consent of the judge shall not be required. If not given in person at the time of the application, the consent shall be evidenced by a written certificate subscribed thereto and duly attested. Where the applicants or either of them are 16 or 17 years of age and their parents are dead and there is no legal guardian then a judge of the district court may after due investigation give consent and issue the license authorizing the marriage. (d) The judge or clerk may issue a license upon the affidavit of the party personally appearing and applying therefor, to the effect that the parties to whom such license is to be issued are of lawful age, as required by this section, and the judge or clerk is hereby authorized to administer oaths for that purpose. (e) Every person swearing falsely in such affidavit shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $500. A clerk or judge of the district court shall state in every license the birth dates of the parties applying for the same, and if either or both are 16 or 17 years of age, the name of the father, mother, or guardian consenting to such marriage.
How to Become a Wedding Officiant in Kansas
In Kansas, both civil and religious officiants are legally authorized to solemnize weddings. This privilege includes ordained ministers or religious leaders irrespective of faith, belief system or denomination. Active or retired judges and justices of any municipal, state or federal court are also legally allowed to officiate marriage ceremonies.
Ministers who are ordained through the Universal Life Church are considered to be “religious actors” as per state law, irrespective of gender identity or religious affiliation. Before performing a ceremony, ministers must provide proof of ordination to the probate court.
It is unlawful for a wedding ceremony to be performed by anyone that is not authorized. Doing so may result in a fine of $100.
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(a) Marriage may be validly solemnized and contracted in this state, after a license has been issued for the marriage, in the following manner: By the mutual declarations of the two parties to be joined in marriage, made before an authorized officiating person and in the presence of at least two competent witnesses over 18 years of age, other than the officiating person, that they take each other as husband and wife. (b) The following are authorized to be officiating persons: (1) Any currently ordained clergyman or religious authority of any religious denomination or society; (2) any licentiate of a denominational body or an appointee of any bishop serving as the regular clergyman of any church of the denomination to which the licentiate or appointee belongs, if not restrained from so doing by the discipline of that church or denomination; (3) any judge or justice of a court of record; (4) any municipal judge of a city of this state; and (5) any retired judge or justice of a court of record. (c) The two parties themselves, by mutual declarations that they take each other as husband and wife, in accordance with the customs, rules and regulations of any religious society, denomination or sect to which either of the parties belong, may be married without an authorized officiating person.
Applying For a Marriage License in Kansas
In Kansas, a valid marriage license must contain the following information:
- Name of the county where issued
- Date of issuance
- Full names of the couple getting married
- Name of judge or clerk who issued it
There is a minimum three-day waiting period between filing the application and issuing the marriage license. Any exceptions must be approved and granted by a district court judge.
Once the marriage licensed is secured, the couple must formally marry within six months. It is valid throughout the state. The minister or officiant who weds the couple must return the license to the judge or clerk who issued it within 10 days.
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§ 23-106 (f) Every marriage license shall expire at the end of six months from the date of issuance if the marriage for which the license was issued does not take place within the six-month period of time.
How to Get a Kansas Marriage License
To apply for a marriage license, at least one member of the couple must appear in person before a judge or county clerk. The applicant must pay a fee of $85.50 in cash for the marriage license. After providing government-issued identification for age verification, the applicant must swear to the veracity of the information provided in the application:
- Dates of all divorces, if applicable
- Names of parents and legal guardians for applicants that are below the age of 18
Knowingly providing information that is false and swearing to it will result in a misdemeanor charge in Kansas, and a fine of up to $500 may be assessed.
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(a) The judge or clerk of the district court shall collect from the applicant for a marriage license a fee of $85.50 (b) The clerk of the court shall remit all fees prescribed by this section to the state treasurer in accordance with the provisions of K.S.A. 75-4215, and amendments thereto. Upon receipt of each such remittance, the state treasurer shall deposit the entire amount in the state treasury. Of each remittance, the state treasurer shall credit 38.98% to the protection from abuse fund, 15.19% to the family and children trust account of the family and children investment fund created by K.S.A. 38-1808, and amendments thereto, 16.95% to the crime victims assistance fund created by K.S.A. 74-7334, and amendments thereto, 15.25% to the judicial branch nonjudicial salary adjustment fund created by K.S.A. 2009 Supp. 20-1a15, and amendments thereto, and the remainder to the state general fund. (c) Except as provided further, the marriage license fee established in this section shall be the only fee collected or moneys in the nature of a fee collected for a marriage license. Such fee shall only be established by an act of the legislature and no other authority is established by law or otherwise to collect a fee. On and after July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010, the supreme court may impose an additional charge, not to exceed $10 per marriage license fee, to fund the costs of non-judicial personnel.
Finalizing the Union
As a legally authorized wedding officiant, it is your obligation to endorse both copies of the marriage certificate that is attached to the original marriage license. You are expected to leave the duplicate copy with the newlyweds and remit the remaining documents within 10 days of the ceremony to the issuing judge or district court clerk.
The clerk notes your actions for the marriage record for the state of Kansas. The clerk then sends all documents, including your name and address, to the secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
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(a) Every person who performs a marriage ceremony under the provisions of this act shall endorse the person's certificate of the marriage on the license, give the duplicate copy of the license to the parties to the marriage and return the license, within 10 days after the marriage, to the judge or clerk of the district court who issued it. The judge or clerk shall record the marriage on the marriage record in the office of the judge or clerk and shall forward, not later than the third day of the following month, to the secretary of health and environment the license and certificate of marriage, together with a statement of the names of the parties and the name and address of the person who performed the marriage ceremony. (b) If no marriage license has been issued by the judge or clerk of the district court during a month, the judge or clerk shall promptly notify the secretary of health and environment to that effect on a form provided for that purpose.