Universal Life Church

Maryland Wedding Laws

Wedding planning is all about the details, and so are Maryland’s marriage laws — but getting married in the Old Line State doesn’t need to cause lines on your forehead. We’ve combed through the relevant legal requirements and compiled everything couples and officiants need to know into one convenient place. Our practical, step-by-step guide covers all the necessary deadlines, documents, and fees to ensure your marriage is valid and binding under Maryland law.

How to Become a Wedding Officiant in Maryland

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

A minister must be at least 18 years of age to officiate a wedding in Maryland. ULC-ordained ministers are considered religious officials under Maryland law; however, the state does not impose any requirements upon the minister’s religious beliefs or lack thereof.

The minister is not required to register with the state. Depending on the county, he or she may need to submit Ordination Credentials to the clerk’s office along with the completed marriage certificate.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    Md. Code, Fam. Law § 2-406. Performance of ceremony

    (a) Authorized officials. --

    (2) A marriage ceremony may be performed in this State by:

    (i) any official of a religious order or body authorized by the rules and customs of that order or body to perform a marriage ceremony;

    (ii) any clerk;

    (iii) any deputy clerk designated by the county administrative judge of the circuit court for the county; or

    (iv) a judge.

Getting Married in Maryland

Marriage By Proxy Allowed:
No
Minister Required to be Present:
Yes
Number of Witnesses Required:
None
Min. Age of Witnesses:
N/A
Couple's Consent Required:
Yes
Pronouncement Required:
Yes

A wedding is a very personal event, and Maryland allows couples and ministers to design the ceremony as they wish, subject to a few general requirements:

Each partner must formally declare his or her consent to be married and to take the other partner as a spouse.

The minister and both partners must be physically present for the entire ceremony. Maryland does not require additional witnesses (Society of Friends celebrations must include two overseers).

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    Md. Code, Family Law §§ 2–406, 2-409

    (a) Each marriage certificate shall contain:

    (1) the name, signature, and title of the authorized official who performs the marriage ceremony;  or

    (2) if the individuals are married in a Society of Friends marriage ceremony, the signatures of the individuals and the attestation of the certificate by 2 overseers of the marriage ceremony.

    (b)(1) The authorized official who performs the marriage ceremony shall:

    (i) hand 1 marriage certificate to the individuals;  and

    (ii) return, within 5 days from the date of the marriage ceremony, the other marriage certificate to the clerk who issued the license to which the certificates were attached, but if the authorized official who performs the marriage ceremony dies or resigns, some other individual shall return the certificate.

    (2) If the individuals are married in a Society of Friends marriage ceremony, they:

    (i) may keep 1 marriage certificate;  and

    (ii) within 5 days from the date of the marriage ceremony, shall return the other marriage certificate to the clerk who issued the license to which the certificates were attached.

    (c) If the marriage certificate is not returned within 6 months after the date on which the license becomes effective, the clerk who issued the license shall attempt to determine whether the marriage ceremony was performed and, if so, the name of the authorized official who performed the marriage ceremony.

    (d)(1) An individual who performs a marriage ceremony or who is married in a Society of Friends marriage ceremony may not violate the provisions of subsection (b)(1)(ii) or (2)(ii) of this section.

    (2) An individual who violates any provision of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine in an amount that the court considers appropriate.

How to Get a Maryland Marriage License

Who Picks Up License:
The Couple
Where License is Valid:
County of Issuance
Marriage License Pick-Up:
In Person/By Mail
Cost of License:
$10 + Filing Fee
Accepted I.D. Types:
Photo ID
Proof of Divorce Required (If Applicable):
No
Blood Test Required:
No

In Maryland, a marriage license must be issued by the circuit clerk’s office in the county where the wedding ceremony will take place. The fee for this license varies by county.

If either partner is a resident of the county where the wedding will be held, then at least one partner must appear in person at the clerk’s office in that county to apply for a marriage license. The partner who applies in person does not have to be the partner who resides in the issuing county.

If neither partner is a resident of the county where the ceremony will take place, then the couple may complete a non-resident marriage license application and mail it to the appropriate county. In this case, however, at least one partner must still appear in person at the circuit clerk’s office in his or her county of residence to have the application witnessed and stamped. Merely having the application notarized is not sufficient.

If neither partner lives in Maryland, at least one partner must appear in person to have the application witnessed by an official in his or her home jurisdiction whose office is comparable to the circuit clerk. This is usually whichever office ordinarily issues marriage licenses in either partner’s county of residence.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    Md. Code, Fam. Law § 2-402. Application for license

    (a) When and where made. -- An applicant for a license may apply to the clerk only at the office of the clerk during regular office hours.

    (b) Information required. -- Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, to apply for a license, 1 of the parties to be married shall:

    (1) appear before the clerk and give, under oath, the following information, which shall be placed on an application form by the clerk:

    (i) the full name of each party;

    (ii) the place of residence of each party;

    (iii) the age of each party;

    (iv) whether the parties are related by blood or marriage and, if so, in which degree of relationship;

    (v) the marital status of each party; and

    (vi) whether either party was married previously, and the date and place of each death or judicial determination that ended any former marriage;

    (2) sign the application form; and

    (3) provide the clerk with the Social Security number of each party who has a Social Security number.

    (c) Social Security numbers. -- The Social Security numbers of the parties:

    (1) shall be included in the electronic file for the marriage license application; and

    (2) except as provided in § 4-334 of the General Provisions Article, may not be disclosed as part of the public record of the marriage license application.

    (d) Parties not residents of county. -- If the parties to be married are not residents of the county where the marriage ceremony is to be performed, the clerk shall accept, instead of the application specified in subsection (b) of this section, an affidavit from 1 of the parties to be married. The affidavit shall:

    (1) contain the information required by subsection (b) of this section; and

    (2) be sworn to under oath before a clerk or other comparable official in the county, state, province, or country where the party resides.

    (e) Disclosure of application for license prohibited. -- Until a license becomes effective, a clerk may not disclose the fact that an application for a license has been made except to the parent or guardian of a party to be married.

    Md. Code, Fam. Law § 2-404. Fees for licenses

    (a) License fee. --

    (1) The fee for a license is $ 10.

    (2) The clerk shall:

    (i) retain $ 5 of the fee; and

    (ii) pay $ 5 of the fee into the general fund of the county.

    (3)

    (i) A party to be married may obtain a replacement for a valid marriage license while the license is valid.

    (ii) The fee for a replacement license is $ 10, payable into the General Fund of the State.

    (b) Additional license fee for battered spouse shelters and domestic violence programs -- Authorized. -- Except as otherwise provided in this section:

    (1) any county or group of 2 or more counties may set an additional fee of up to $ 25 for each license; and

    (2) the proceeds shall be used to fund domestic violence programs.

    (c) Additional license fee for battered spouse shelters and domestic violence programs -- Anne Arundel County. -- In Anne Arundel County:

    (1) the County Council may set by ordinance an additional fee of up to $ 45 for each license;

    (2) the clerk shall pay the proceeds from the additional fee to the general fund of the county each month; and

    (3) the County Council shall distribute the proceeds to promote or fund domestic violence programs.

    (d) Additional license fee for battered spouse shelters and domestic violence programs -- Baltimore City. -- In Baltimore City:

    (1) the Mayor and City Council shall set by resolution an additional fee of up to $ 75 for each license;

    (2) the clerk shall pay the proceeds from the additional fee to the Mayor and City Council each month; and

    (3) the proceeds shall be used to fund domestic violence programs that have 24-hour intake ability.

    (e) Additional license fee for battered spouse shelters and domestic violence programs -- Baltimore County. -- In Baltimore County:

    (1) in addition to the fee authorized under subsection (b)(1) of this section, the County Council may set by resolution an additional fee of up to $ 15 for each license;

    (2) the clerk shall pay the proceeds from the additional fee to the Director of Finance of the county each month;

    (3) the proceeds, in addition to designated federal, State, and county funds, shall be used to fund battered spouse shelters and domestic violence programs established under Title 4, Subtitle 5 of this article; and

    (4) the County Executive shall prepare and make available an annual report on or before December 1 of each year on the disposition of fees collected under this subsection during the previous fiscal year.

    (f) Additional license fee for battered spouse shelters and domestic violence programs -- Calvert County. -- In Calvert County:

    (1) the Board of County Commissioners may set an additional fee of up to $ 55 for each license;

    (2) the clerk shall pay the proceeds from the additional fee to the County Commissioners each month; and

    (3) the proceeds shall be used to fund battered spouse shelters and domestic violence programs in Calvert County.

    (g) Additional license fee for battered spouse shelters and domestic violence programs -- Cecil County. -- In Cecil County:

    (1) the Board of County Commissioners shall set an additional fee of $ 20 for each license;

    (2) the clerk shall pay the proceeds from the additional fee to the County Treasurer each month;

    (3) the proceeds in addition to designated federal funds and county funds shall be given to the Cecil County Department of Social Services Advisory Board to be used to fund battered spouse shelters and domestic violence programs; and

    (4) the Cecil County Department of Social Services Advisory Board shall prepare and make available to the Board of County Commissioners an annual report on or before December 1 of each year of the disposition of fees collected under this subsection during the previous fiscal year.

    (h) Additional license fee for battered spouse shelters and domestic violence programs -- Charles County. -- In Charles County:

    (1) the Board of County Commissioners may set an additional fee of up to $ 35 for each license;

    (2) the clerk shall pay the proceeds from the additional fee to the County Commissioners each month; and

    (3) the proceeds shall be used to fund domestic violence programs located in Charles County.

    (i) Additional license fee for battered spouse shelters and domestic violence programs -- Frederick County. -- In Frederick County:

    (1) the Board of County Commissioners may set an additional fee, in an amount not to exceed $ 65, for each license;

    (2) the clerk shall pay the proceeds from the additional fee to the County Commissioners each month; and

    (3) the proceeds, in addition to designated federal, State, and county funds, shall be used to fund domestic violence programs established under Title 4, Subtitle 5 of this article.

    (j) Additional license fee for battered spouse shelters and domestic violence programs -- Garrett County. -- In Garrett County:

    (1) the Board of County Commissioners may set an additional fee of up to $ 40 for each license;

    (2) the clerk shall pay the proceeds from the additional fee to the County Commissioners each month; and

    (3) the proceeds shall be used to fund domestic violence programs in Garrett County.

    (k) Additional license fee for battered spouse shelters and domestic violence programs -- Harford County. -- In Harford County:

    (1) the County Council may set by resolution an additional fee of up to $ 40 for each license;

    (2) the clerk shall:

    (i) retain 3% of the proceeds from the additional fee for processing;

    (ii) pay $ 5 of the proceeds from each license to the Harford County Sexual Assault/Spousal Abuse Resource Center, Inc.; and

    (iii) pay the remaining proceeds to the Treasurer of Harford County each month;

    (3) the county:

    (i) shall use the proceeds, in addition to designated federal, State, and county funds, to fund battered spouse shelters and domestic violence programs; and

    (ii) may make in-kind contributions to battered spouse and domestic violence programs; and

    (4) the County Executive shall prepare and make available an annual report on or before December 1 of each year on the disposition of fees collected under this subsection during the previous fiscal year.

    (l) Additional license fee for battered spouse shelters and domestic violence programs -- Howard County. -- In Howard County:

    (1) the County Council may set by resolution an additional fee of up to $ 50 for each license;

    (2) the clerk shall pay the proceeds from the additional fee to the Director of Finance of the county each month;

    (3) the proceeds, in addition to designated federal, State, and county funds, shall be used to fund battered spouse shelters and domestic violence programs established under Title 4, Subtitle 5 of this article; and

    (4) the County Executive shall prepare and make available an annual report on or before December 1 of each year on the disposition of fees collected under this subsection during the previous fiscal year.

    (m) Additional license fee for battered spouse shelters and domestic violence programs -- Montgomery County. -- In Montgomery County:

    (1) the County Council may set by resolution an additional fee of up to $ 45 for each license;

    (2) the clerk shall pay the proceeds from the additional fee to the Director of Finance of the county each month;

    (3) the proceeds, in addition to designated federal, State, and county funds, shall be used to fund battered spouse shelters and domestic violence programs; and

    (4) the County Executive shall prepare and make available an annual report on or before December 1 of each year on the disposition of fees collected under this subsection during the previous fiscal year.

    (n) Additional license fee for battered spouse shelters and domestic violence programs -- Prince George's County. -- In Prince George's County:

    (1) the County Council may set by resolution an additional fee of up to $ 60 for each license;

    (2) the clerk shall pay the proceeds from the additional fee to the Director of Finance of the county, who shall distribute the proceeds to the Family Crisis Center of Prince George's County each month;

    (3) if the Family Crisis Center of Prince George's County changes its name or objectives or ceases to exist, the proceeds, in addition to designated federal, State, and county funds, shall be used to fund battered spouse shelters and domestic violence programs; and

    (4) the County Executive shall prepare and make available an annual report on or before December 1 of each year on the disposition of fees collected under this subsection during the previous fiscal year.

    (o) Additional license fee for battered spouse shelters and domestic violence programs -- Washington County. -- In Washington County:

    (1) the Board of County Commissioners may set an additional fee of up to $ 50 for each license;

    (2) the clerk shall pay the proceeds from the additional fee to the County Commissioners each month; and

    (3) the proceeds shall be used to fund battered spouse shelters and domestic violence programs in Washington County.

Applying For a Marriage License in Maryland

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Religious
Mandatory Waiting Period:
6 am of Second Day After Issuance
License Valid For:
6 Months
License Must Be Submitted:
Within 5 Days of Ceremony

A Maryland marriage license is issued with a marriage certificate attached. For the marriage to be valid:

A wedding ceremony must take place in the county where the license was issued within six months after the issue date, and

The marriage certificate must be returned to the issuing office within five days after the ceremony.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    Md. Code, Family Law §§ 2–406, 2-409

    (a) Each marriage certificate shall contain:

    (1) the name, signature, and title of the authorized official who performs the marriage ceremony;  or

    (2) if the individuals are married in a Society of Friends marriage ceremony, the signatures of the individuals and the attestation of the certificate by 2 overseers of the marriage ceremony.

    (b)(1) The authorized official who performs the marriage ceremony shall:

    (i) hand 1 marriage certificate to the individuals;  and

    (ii) return, within 5 days from the date of the marriage ceremony, the other marriage certificate to the clerk who issued the license to which the certificates were attached, but if the authorized official who performs the marriage ceremony dies or resigns, some other individual shall return the certificate.

    (2) If the individuals are married in a Society of Friends marriage ceremony, they:

    (i) may keep 1 marriage certificate;  and

    (ii) within 5 days from the date of the marriage ceremony, shall return the other marriage certificate to the clerk who issued the license to which the certificates were attached.

    (c) If the marriage certificate is not returned within 6 months after the date on which the license becomes effective, the clerk who issued the license shall attempt to determine whether the marriage ceremony was performed and, if so, the name of the authorized official who performed the marriage ceremony.

    (d)(1) An individual who performs a marriage ceremony or who is married in a Society of Friends marriage ceremony may not violate the provisions of subsection (b)(1)(ii) or (2)(ii) of this section.

    (2) An individual who violates any provision of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine in an amount that the court considers appropriate.

    Md. Code, Fam. Law § 2-405. Issuance of license

    (d) Waiting period. --

    (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, a license is not effective until 6 a.m. on the second calendar day after the license is issued.

    (2) For good cause shown, a judge of the circuit court for the county in which the application is made may sign an authorization for a license to become effective at a time before the waiting period expires, as stated in the authorization, if 1 of the parties to be married is:

    (i) a resident of this State; or

    (ii) a member of the United States armed forces.

Maryland Marriage Requirements

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

Nearly all couples are welcome to get married in Maryland, including same-sex couples, out-of-state couples, and couples from around the world. Beyond minimum-age requirements, Maryland’s only restriction is that the partners cannot be closely related, even if they are only related by law. Unlike many states, Maryland allows first cousins to marry; however, no person may marry his or her sibling, parent, grandparent, stepparent, aunt, uncle, spouse’s parent, or spouse’s grandparent.

Both partners must be at least 18 years of age. A person who is 16 or 17 years of age must either provide written consent from a parent or legal guardian, be pregnant, or have given birth to a child. A person who is 15 years of age must have written consent from a parent or legal guardian and must either be pregnant or have given birth to a child. (Note that for pregnancy- or childbirth-related exceptions to the minimum age requirement, paternity is irrelevant.) A person who is younger than 15 years of age may not get married in Maryland, regardless of circumstances.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    Md. Code, Fam. Law § 2-202. Marriages within certain degrees of relationship void; penalties

    (a) In general. -- Any marriage performed in this State that is prohibited by this section is void.

    (b) Marriages within 3 degrees of direct lineal consanguinity or within first degree of collateral consanguinity prohibited; penalties. --

    (1) An individual may not marry the individual's:

    (i) grandparent;

    (ii) parent;

    (iii) child;

    (iv) sibling; or

    (v) grandchild.

    (2) An individual who violates any provision of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine of $ 1,500.

    (c) Certain marriages within other degrees of affinity or consanguinity prohibited; penalties. --

    (1) An individual may not marry the individual's:

    (i) grandparent's spouse;

    (ii) spouse's grandparent;

    (iii) parent's sibling;

    (iv) stepparent;

    (v) spouse's parent;

    (vi) spouse's child;

    (vii) child's spouse;

    (viii) grandchild's spouse;

    (ix) spouse's grandchild; or

    (x) sibling's child.

    (2) An individual who violates any provision of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine of $ 500.

    Md. Code, Fam. Law § 2-301. Marriage of individual 16 or 17 years old; marriage of individual under the age of 16 years

    (a) Marriage of individual 16 or 17 years old. -- An individual 16 or 17 years old may not marry unless:

    (1) the individual has the consent of a parent or guardian and the parent or guardian swears that the individual is at least 16 years old; or

    (2) if the individual does not have the consent of a parent or guardian, either party to be married gives the clerk a certificate from a licensed physician, licensed physician assistant, or certified nurse practitioner stating that the physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner has examined the woman to be married and has found that she is pregnant or has given birth to a child.

    (b) Marriage of individual 15 years old. -- An individual 15 years old may not marry unless:

    (1) the individual has the consent of a parent or guardian; and

    (2) either party to be married gives the clerk a certificate from a licensed physician, licensed physician assistant, or certified nurse practitioner stating that the physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner has examined the woman to be married and has found that she is pregnant or has given birth to a child.

    (c) Marriage of individual under the age of 15 years. -- An individual under the age of 15 may not marry.

Finalizing the Union

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

After the ceremony, the minister must complete and sign both copies of the marriage certificate. If a title is requested, a ULC minister should write “minister.” The minister must return one copy of the certificate, together with the original marriage license and his or her ordination credentials if needed, to the issuing clerk’s office within five days after the ceremony. The second copy of the marriage certificate is for the newlywed couple. Some counties issue a third copy, which is for the minister’s personal records.