Universal Life Church

Michigan Wedding Laws

Michigan has no shortage of stunning sights, many of which attract thousands of visitors each year. Among those visitors are often lovebirds who are scoping out possible venues for their upcoming nuptials. If you and your significant other want to get married in the Great Lake State, you should first brush up on its local codes, marriage requirements, and exceptions for both couples and ministers. We took care to compile them for you here.

Getting Married in Michigan

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

Michigan chooses to leave the specifics of the wedding ceremony, or lack thereof, up to the couple. Couples may enjoy a large religious gathering, a small informal ceremony, or something in between the two if they so choose. The only requirement is that the parties pronounce their desire to take on another as husband or wife before a presiding magistrate or minister and at least two attending witnesses, both of whom must be the age of majority, and that the minister pronounces the parties as married.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    551.9 Solemnization of marriage; form; declaration by parties; witnesses.

    Sec. 9.

    In the solemnization of marriage, no particular form shall be required, except that the parties shall solemnly declare, in the presence of the person solemnizing the marriage and the attending witnesses, that they take each other as husband and wife; and in every case, there shall be at least 2 witnesses, besides the person solemnizing the marriage, present at the ceremony.

Michigan 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 Michigan, like in most states, the age at which a person can legally marry without a parent or guardian’s consent is 18. While no person under the age of 16 can enter into a marriage contract, individuals aged 16 or 17 may marry with the consent of at least one parent or guardian.

Michigan law states that “no woman shall marry another woman.” However, due to changes in federal law made in 2015, same-sex couples have the legal right to wed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Per Michigan law, women are forbidden from marrying their fathers, stepfathers, sons, grandsons or brothers; their daughter’s, grandmother’s or grandfather’s husbands; their brother’s or sister’s son; their husband’s father, son, grandfather or grandson; their mother’s or father’s brother; or any of their first cousins.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    Mich. Comp. Laws § 551.51 Age of consent; effect of act on powers of probate judge.

    Sec. 1.

    A marriage in this state shall not be contracted by a person who is under 16 years of age, and the marriage, if entered into, shall be void. This act shall not prohibit probate judges from exercising their powers to perform marriages as provided by Act No. 180 of the Public Acts of 1897, being sections 551.201 to 551.204 of the Michigan Compiled Laws.

    Mich. Comp. Laws § 551.101 Marriage license; requirements; place to obtain, delivery to person officiating.

    Sec. 1.

    It shall be necessary for all parties intending to be married to obtain a marriage license from the county clerk of the county in which either the man or woman resides, and to deliver the said license to the clergyman or magistrate who is to officiate, before the marriage can be performed. If both parties to be married are non-residents of the state it shall be necessary to obtain such license from the county clerk of the county in which the marriage is to be performed.

    Mich. Comp. Laws § 551.4 Incapacity; persons woman prohibited from marrying.

    Sec. 4.

    A woman shall not marry her father, brother, grandfather, son, grandson, stepfather, grandmother's husband, daughter's husband, granddaughter's husband, husband's father, husband's grandfather, husband's son, husband's grandson, brother's son, sister's son, father's brother, mother's brother, or cousin of the first degree, or another woman.

How to Become a Wedding Officiant in Michigan

Min. Age of Minister:
Age 18
Residency:
Not Required
Document(s) Required:
Ordination Credential and Letter of Good Standing
Online Ordination Recognized:
Yes
Relevant Office of Registration:
County Clerk
Latest Document(s) Submission Date Allowed:
Before the Ceremony
Minister I.D. # Issued:
No

A person must be 18 years old to officiate a wedding in Michigan. Michigan grants the power to solemnize a wedding to several persons, including mayors, judges, magistrates, ministers, clerks and certain religious practitioners. Individuals who received their ordination credentials through the Universal Life Church also have the power to perform weddings, regardless of their gender, personal beliefs or residence. Ministers must produce letters of good standing and their ordination credentials to the county clerk before the ceremony.

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    Revised Statutes of 1846 (EXCERPT)

    Chapter 83. Of marriage and the solemnization thereof.

    551.7 Persons authorized to solemnize marriage; records; return of licenses and certificates; disposition of fees charged by mayor or county clerk.

    Sec. 7.

    (1) Marriages may be solemnized by any of the following:

    (a) A judge of the district court, anywhere in this state.

    (b) A district court magistrate, anywhere in this state.

    (c) A municipal judge, in the city in which the judge is serving or in a township over which a municipal court has jurisdiction under section 9928 of the revised judicature act of 1961, 1961 PA 236, MCL 600.9928.

    (d) A judge of probate, anywhere in this state.

    (e) A judge of a federal court.

    (f) A mayor of a city, anywhere in a county in which that city is located.

    (g) A county clerk in the county in which the clerk serves, or in another county with the written authorization of the clerk of the other county.

    (h) For a county having more than 1,500,000 inhabitants, an employee of the county clerk's office designated by the county clerk, in the county in which the clerk serves.

    (i) A minister of the gospel or cleric or religious practitioner, anywhere in this state, if the minister or cleric or religious practitioner is ordained or authorized to solemnize marriages according to the usages of the denomination.

    (j) A minister of the gospel or cleric or religious practitioner, anywhere in this state, if the minister or cleric or religious practitioner is not a resident of this state but is authorized to solemnize marriages under the laws of the state in which the minister or cleric or religious practitioner resides.

    (2) A person authorized by this act to solemnize a marriage shall keep proper records and return licenses and certificates as required by section 4 of 1887 PA 128, MCL 551.104.

    (3) If a mayor of a city solemnizes a marriage, the mayor shall charge and collect a fee to be determined by the council of that city, which shall be paid to the city treasurer and deposited in the general fund of the city at the end of the month.

    (4) If the county clerk or, in a county having more than 1,500,000 inhabitants, an employee of the clerk's office designated by the county clerk solemnizes a marriage, the county clerk shall charge and collect a fee to be determined by the commissioners of the county in which the clerk serves. The fee shall be paid to the treasurer for the county in which the clerk serves and deposited in the general fund of that county at the end of the month.

Applying For a Marriage License in Michigan

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Religious
Mandatory Waiting Period:
3 Days
License Valid For:
33 Days
License Must Be Submitted:
Within 10 Days of Ceremony

Michigan marriage licenses are valid for 33 days in the county in which it was issued. However, the state requires a three-day waiting period between the date of the application and when it may issue the license. The county clerk has the right to ignore this requirement, however, if there is good and sufficient cause to do so. Couples who wish to waive this three-day waiting period must pay extra.

Upon receiving the license, a couple is responsible for delivering the document to the magistrate or minister who will officiate the wedding. It is that person’s duty to return the license, properly filled out and signed, to the same county clerk who issued it within 10 days of the ceremony.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    551.103a Marriage license; time of delivery; solemnization of marriage required.

    Sec. 3a.

    A marriage license shall not be delivered within a period of 3 days including the date of application. However, the county clerk of each county, for good and sufficient cause shown, may deliver the license immediately following the application. If the county clerk delivers the license immediately following the application, the person applying for the license shall pay a fee to be determined by the county board of commissioners, which the county clerk shall deposit into the general fund of the county. A marriage license issued is void unless a marriage is solemnized under the license within 33 days after the application.

    551.104 Certificate completion; officiating person duty; original license return; record.

    Sec. 4.

    It shall be the duty of the clergyman or magistrate, officiating at a marriage, to fill in the spaces of the certificate left blank for the entry of the time and place of the marriage, the names and residences of 2 witnesses, and his own signature in certification that the marriage has been performed by him and any and all information required to be filled in in the spaces left blank in the certificate shall be typewritten or legibly printed. He shall separate the duplicate license and certificate, and deliver the half part designated duplicate to 1 of the parties, so joined in marriage, and within 10 days return the original to the county clerk issuing the same. It shall be the duty of such clergyman or magistrate to keep an accurate record of all marriages solemnized in a book used expressly for that purpose.

How to Get a Michigan Marriage License

Couples who wish to marry in Michigan must obtain a license first. To do so, the couple must present a written application, their birth certificates, and their licenses (or another form of ID) to the county clerk. The parties must swear an oath that all the information contained in the application is accurate. If one or both parties is a minor, the parents or guardians must deliver by person or via a notarized affidavit consent for the marriage. In some counties, a previously married person must provide proof of divorce. However, it is illegal for courts to demand blood tests to disprove kinship.

If a couple lives in Michigan, they must obtain a license from a clerk in the county in which either of the parties resides. If both members are non-residents of the state, they must obtain a license from the clerk in the county in which they plan to wed.

Though additional fees vary by county throughout the state, the fee for a marriage license is $20.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    551.103 Persons capable of contracting marriage; age requirement; proof of age; filling out license; written consent; compliance; filing consent; signing, certification, and copy of license; fee; allocation for family counseling services; return and disposition of unexpended funds; waiver of fee; additional fee for nonresidents; delivery of license and certificate to officiating individual; recording information; forwarding licenses and certificates to state registrar; imposition of fee by certain charter counties.

    Sec. 3.

    (1) A person who is 18 years of age or older may contract marriage. A person who is 16 years of age but is less than 18 years of age may contract marriage with the written consent of 1 of the parents of the person or the person's legal guardian, as provided in this section. As proof of age, the person who intends to be married, in addition to the statement of age in the application, when requested by the county clerk, shall submit a birth certificate or other proof of age. The county clerk on the application submitted shall fill out the blank spaces of the license according to the sworn answers of the applicant, taken before the county clerk, or some person duly authorized by law to administer oaths. If it appears from the affidavit that either the applicant for a marriage license or the person whom he or she intends to marry is less than 18 years of age, the county clerk shall require that there first be produced the written consent of 1 of the parents of each of the persons who is less than 18 years of age or of the person's legal guardian, unless the person does not have a living parent or guardian. The consent shall be to the marriage and to the issuing of the license for which the application is submitted. The consent shall be given personally in the presence of the county clerk or be acknowledged before a notary public or other officer authorized to administer oaths. A license shall not be issued by the county clerk until the requirements of this section are complied with. The written consent shall be preserved on file in the office of the county clerk. If the parties are legally entitled to be married, the county clerk shall sign the license and certify the fact that it is properly issued, and the clerk shall make a correct copy of the license in the books of registration.

    (2) A fee of $20.00 shall be paid by the person applying for the license and shall be paid by the county clerk into the general fund of the county.

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 magistrate or clergyman must fill out the marriage certificate with all the appropriate information. That includes the names and places of residence of each witness, the official time and place of the marriage, and, of course, the names, titles and signatures of both members of the couple. All information must either be legibly printed or typewritten.

The newlyweds should receive a copy of both the marriage license and certificate. The original copies must be delivered to the issuing county clerk within 10 days. The minister or officiant must also keep records of the marriages he or she performs in case there is ever a dispute over a union.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    551.104 Certificate completion; officiating person duty; original license return; record.

    Sec. 4.

    It shall be the duty of the clergyman or magistrate, officiating at a marriage, to fill in the spaces of the certificate left blank for the entry of the time and place of the marriage, the names and residences of 2 witnesses, and his own signature in certification that the marriage has been performed by him and any and all information required to be filled in in the spaces left blank in the certificate shall be typewritten or legibly printed. He shall separate the duplicate license and certificate, and deliver the half part designated duplicate to 1 of the parties, so joined in marriage, and within 10 days return the original to the county clerk issuing the same. It shall be the duty of such clergyman or magistrate to keep an accurate record of all marriages solemnized in a book used expressly for that purpose.