Universal Life Church

Maine Wedding Laws

Maine is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful states in the county. Rich with scenic areas, it serves as a great place for couples to have a lovely outdoor ceremony. Couples who wish to be married in Maine and ministers who plan on officiating ceremonies within the state should review this analysis of Maine’s marriage laws. A thorough understanding of the most important laws governing how a marriage license may be obtained and under what conditions a ceremony may take place will help to ensure that a wedding will be legally valid.

Getting Married in Maine

Marriage By Proxy Allowed:
No
Minister Required to be Present:
Yes

A couple must be present to be married, and so must the person who officiates the wedding. There must be two witnesses over the age of 18 years old. The ceremony must include a formal declaration of intent to be married, which may be accomplished by having both parties state, “I do.” This must be followed by a proclamation by the minister or officiant that the couple has just been wed.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    §654. Record of marriages

    1. Copy. Every person authorized to unite persons in marriage shall make and keep a record of every marriage solemnized by that person in conformity with the forms and instructions prescribed by the State Registrar of Vital Statistics pursuant to Title 22, section 2701.

    [PL 1995, c. 694, Pt. B, §2 (NEW); PL 1995, c. 694, Pt. E, §2 (AFF).]

    1. Return of marriage license. The person who solemnized the marriage shall return the marriage license to the State Registrar of Vital Statistics or the clerk who issued the license within 7 working days following the date on which the marriage is solemnized by that person. The clerk and the State Registrar of Vital Statistics each shall retain a copy of the license.

    [PL 2019, c. 340, §13 (AMD).]

    1. Statement including officiant and witnesses. The marriage license returned must contain a statement giving the names of the parties united in marriage, place and date of the marriage, the new name of either party if either party intends to change that party's name, the signature of the person by whom the marriage was solemnized and the names of the 2 witnesses. The person who solemnized the marriage shall add the title of the office by virtue of which the marriage was solemnized, the residence of the person who solemnized the marriage and:

    A. The date ordained or authorized by a religious faith to perform marriages; [PL 1995, c. 694, Pt. B, §2 (NEW); PL 1995, c. 694, Pt. E, §2 (AFF).]

    B. The date the notary public's commission expires; [PL 2011, c. 111, §1 (AMD).]

    C. The date the lawyer was admitted to the Maine Bar; or [PL 2011, c. 111, §1 (AMD).]

    D. The date the person's temporary registration certificate was issued under section 655, subsection 1-A. [PL 2011, c. 111, §1 (NEW).]

    [PL 2019, c. 82, §2 (AMD).]

Maine Marriage Requirements

Min. Age of Couple:
Age 18 or Age 16 with Guardian Consent
Residency:
Not Required
Min. Distance of Kin Allowed:
Second Cousins
Marriage Equality:
Yes

In Maine, same-sex marriage is permissible.

The legal age of consent to be married in Maine is 18 years old. If a person who is 16 or 17 years old wishes to be married, he or she must obtain written permission from a parent or legal guardian. A person who is 15 years old or younger may apply for a marriage license (also with written consent from a parent or legal guardian), but he or she must first seek authorization from a probate judge. The judge will make a determination about whether the marriage is in the minor’s best interest.

Individuals who have a familial relationship that is closer than that of first cousins may not be married in the state of Maine. First cousins who wish to be married must first meet with a genetic counselor to understand the potential risks associated with having children.

 

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    §652

    1. Parties under 18 years of age. A marriage license may not be issued to persons under 18 years of age without the written consent of their parents, guardians or persons to whom a court has given custody. In the absence of persons qualified to give consent, the judge of probate in the county where each minor resides may grant consent after notice and opportunity for hearing.

    [PL 2019, c. 340, §10 (AMD).]

    1. Parties under 16 years of age. The clerk or State Registrar of Vital Statistics may not issue a marriage license to a person under 16 years of age without:

    A. The written consent of that minor's parents, guardians or persons to whom a court has given custody; [PL 1995, c. 694, Pt. B, §2 (NEW); PL 1995, c. 694, Pt. E, §2 (AFF).]

    B. Notifying the judge of probate in the county in which the minor resides of the filing of this intention; and [PL 1995, c. 694, Pt. B, §2 (NEW); PL 1995, c. 694, Pt. E, §2 (AFF).]

    C. Receipt of that judge of probate's written consent to issue the license. The judge of probate shall base a decision on whether to issue consent on the best interest of the parties under 16 years of age and shall consider the age of both parties and any criminal record of a party who is 18 years of age or older. The judge of probate, in the interest of public welfare, may order, after notice and opportunity for hearing, that a license not be issued. The judge of probate shall issue a decision within 30 days of receiving the notification under paragraph B. [PL 1997, c. 683, Pt. E, §5 (AMD); PL 1997, c. 683, Pt. E, §6 (AFF).]

How to Become a Wedding Officiant in Maine

Min. Age of Minister:
Age 18
Residency:
Not Required
Document(s) Required:
Varies by City
Online Ordination Recognized:
Yes
Relevant Office of Registration:
City Clerk
Latest Document(s) Submission Date Allowed:
After the Ceremony
Minister I.D. # Issued:
No

In Maine, a marriage ceremony may be religious or non-religious. A person must be at least 18 years old to officiate a wedding. A justice, judge, lawyer, or notary who resides in the state has the authority to perform marriage that is otherwise compliant with the state’s laws. Ordained ministers of the Gospel or a person who is licensed to preach by an ecclesiastical body or a seminary can perform a marriage regardless of whether or not they are legal residents of the state.

It is advisable that ministers who have been accredited by the Universal Life Church or any other ordaining body maintain a copy of their Ordination Credentials in case they are asked to provide evidence of their ability to conduct a wedding ceremony.

A minister’s sex, sexual orientation, and religious beliefs have no bearing on his or her authority to conduct a wedding ceremony.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    §655. Authorization; penalties

    1. Persons authorized to solemnize marriages. The following may solemnize marriages in this State:

    A. If a resident of this State:

    (1) A justice or judge;

    (2) A lawyer admitted to the Maine Bar; or

    (4) A notary public under Title 4, chapter 19; [PL 2011, c. 111, §2 (AMD).]

    B. Whether a resident or nonresident of this State and whether or not a citizen of the United States:

    (1) An ordained minister of the gospel;

    (2) A cleric engaged in the service of the religious body to which the cleric belongs; or

    (3) A person licensed to preach by an association of ministers, religious seminary or ecclesiastical body; and [PL 2011, c. 111, §3 (AMD).]

    C. A nonresident of the State who has a temporary registration certificate issued by the Office of Data, Research and Vital Statistics pursuant to subsection 1-A. [PL 2011, c. 111, §4 (NEW).]

    [PL 2011, c. 111, §§2-4 (AMD).]

Applying For a Marriage License in Maine

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Religious
Mandatory Waiting Period:
None
License Valid For:
90 Days
License Must Be Submitted:
Within 7 Working Days of Ceremony

Once issued, a marriage license is valid for exactly 90 days. After 90 days, the marriage license shall be nullified if a ceremony has not yet taken place. There is no mandatory waiting period between the time that a marriage license is issued and the date on which a couple may have a wedding ceremony, so it is possible that couples could get their license and be legally married on the same day. After a ceremony, it is essential that a completed marriage license be returned to the issuing office within seven working days.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    §652-3. Void after 90 days. The license is void if not used within 90 days from the day the intentions were filed in accordance with section 651.

How to Get a Maine Marriage License

In order to obtain a marriage license, a couple must appear in person before a city or town clerk to submit an application. They must submit the information under the pains and penalties of perjury. The fee for a license is $40. People who were previously married must produce evidence that their prior marriage has been effectively dissolved or evidence that their prior spouse is deceased. Any documents that are from a foreign jurisdiction must be translated into English at the party’s expense.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    §651

    1. Application. (CONFLICT: Text as amended by PL 2019, c. 340, §5) The parties wishing to record notice of their intentions of marriage shall submit an application for recording notice of their intentions of marriage. The application may be issued to any 2 persons otherwise qualified under this chapter regardless of the sex of each person if the clerk or State Registrar of Vital Statistics is satisfied as to the identity of the applicants. The application must include a signed certification that the information recorded on the application is correct and that the applicant is free to marry according to the laws of this State. The applicant's signature must be acknowledged before an official authorized to take oaths. An application recording notice of intention to marry is not open for public inspection for 50 years from the date of the application except that:

    A. The names of the parties for whom intentions to marry are filed and the intended date of marriage are public records and open for public inspection; and [PL 2013, c. 424, Pt. B, §5 (RPR).]

    B. A person with a researcher identification card under Title 22, section 2706, subsection 8 is permitted to inspect records and may be issued a noncertified copy of an application. [PL 2013, c. 424, Pt. B, §5 (RPR).]

    [PL 2019, c. 340, §5 (AMD).]

    1. Related parties. If the parties recording notice of their intentions to marry are related as described in section 701, subsection 2, the parties shall submit to the clerk or the State Registrar of Vital Statistics, at the time of recording their intentions to marry, a certificate from a physician stating that the parties have received genetic counseling from the physician. The physician making the certification required by this subsection shall sign the certificate.

    [PL 2019, c. 340, §6 (AMD).]

    1. Prior marriages. Persons recording notice of intention to marry, either of whom has been previously married, shall submit with the application a certificate or certified copy of the divorce decree or annulment of the last marriage or the death record of the last spouse. If both have been previously married, both shall submit the certificates or certified copies. The clerk or State Registrar of Vital Statistics shall make a notation on the application under subsection 2 showing the title and location of the courts, the names of the parties to the proceeding for the divorces or annulments and the date when the decrees became absolute. In the case of a death of a former spouse, the clerk or State Registrar of Vital Statistics shall show the name of the deceased along with the date and place of death.

    [PL 2019, c. 340, §6 (AMD).]

    1. Recognition of foreign divorces. A record of divorce from another state or foreign country is evidence of divorce. If the record is not in English, the record must be translated into English by a disinterested 3rd person at the parties' expense.

    [PL 1995, c. 694, Pt. B, §2 (NEW); PL 1995, c. 694, Pt. E, §2 (AFF).]

    1. Resident defined. For the purposes of this chapter, "resident" means a person whose habitation is fixed in a place within this State and to which that person, whenever temporarily absent, has the intention to return. A person is a resident of a municipality if the place of habitation is within that particular municipality. The clerk of a municipality or the State Registrar of Vital Statistics shall consider a person who qualifies as a resident under Title 21-A, section 112 for voting purposes a resident for the purposes of this chapter.

    [PL 2019, c. 340, §7 (AMD).]

Finalizing the Union

Officiant's Title on Marriage License:
Minister
Church/Ordaining Body:
Universal Life Church Ministries
Address of Church:
Minister's Home Address

It is the responsibility of the minister or officiant to complete a marriage license and return it to the office from which it was issued or the State Registrar of Vital Statistics no later than seven working days after the ceremony. It is important that the information be filled out completely and accurately. The information provided must include the couple’s name, the names of the witnesses, and the date and location of the ceremony. Ministers or officiants must also include their own information, including their name, title, address, and ordaining body.