Universal Life Church

Montana Wedding Laws

The state of Montana has its own unique requirements in order for wedding ceremonies to be legally binding. This guide will help you through each step of the process to make sure that everything is done in order. This will guarantee that your marriage is legally binding in the state of Montana.

How to Become a Wedding Officiant in Montana

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

In order to officiate a wedding in Montana, a minister must meet the age requirement to be eligible for a Universal Life Church ordination. The age of eligibility for this is 18 years or older. The state does not require the minister to hold any specific personal religious beliefs or any at all. The beliefs and background of the minister are not taken into account by the state. The minister can also be from any state, not just the state of Montana.

Anyone interested in being ordained as a minister in order to perform wedding ceremonies can reach out to the clerk of the district court in order to begin the application process. The required documents vary by county, but the Classic Wedding Package covers the basic requirements.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    40-1-301. A marriage may be solemnized by a judge of a court of record, by a public official whose powers include solemnization of marriages, by a mayor, city judge, or justice of the peace, by a tribal judge, or in accordance with any mode of solemnization recognized by any religious denomination, Indian nation or tribe, or native group. Either the person solemnizing the marriage or, if no individual acting alone solemnized the marriage, a party to the marriage shall complete the marriage certificate form and forward it to the clerk of the district court.

Getting Married in Montana

Marriage By Proxy Allowed:
Yes
Minister Required to be Present:
Yes

Requirements for a wedding ceremony in Montana are relatively flexible; parties to the marriage do not need to be physically present at the ceremony, and the couple can customize their wedding to suit their needs. In order for a wedding ceremony to be legally binding, it requires the minister to be physically present, as well as two adult witnesses. Wedding ceremonies in Montana also require the traditional "I do" declaration from the couple, as well as for the minister to make the "I pronounce you..." declaration. Beyond that, any changes to the ceremony by the couple are not in the realm of the state's jurisdiction.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    40-1-301

    (2) If a party to a marriage is unable to be present at the solemnization, the party may authorize in writing a third person to act as proxy. If the person solemnizing the marriage is satisfied that the absent party is unable to be present and has consented to the marriage, the person may solemnize the marriage by proxy. If the person solemnizing the marriage is not satisfied, the parties may petition the district court for an order permitting the marriage to be solemnized by proxy.

    (3) The solemnization of the marriage is not invalidated by the fact that the person solemnizing the marriage was not legally qualified to solemnize it if either party to the marriage believed that person to be qualified.

    (4) One party to a proxy marriage must be a member of the armed forces of the United States on federal active duty or a resident of Montana at the time of application for a license and certificate pursuant to 40-1-202. One party or a legal representative shall appear before the clerk of court and pay the marriage license fee. For the purposes of this subsection, residency must be determined in accordance with 1-1-215.

How to Get a Montana Marriage License

Marriage license applications cost $53 and must be done in person. Applications can be submitted to the clerk of the district court. Blood tests are not required to apply for a marriage certificate.

Once you have applied, you must pick your license up in person. You will be required to present a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver's license.

In order to be able to complete this process, anyone who has been previously married needs to provide proof of divorce.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    40-1-202. License issuance. Except as provided in 40-1-301, when a marriage application has been completed and signed by both parties to a prospective marriage and at least one party has appeared before the clerk of the district court and paid the marriage license fee of $53, the clerk of the district court shall issue a license to marry and a marriage certificate form upon being furnished:

    (1) satisfactory proof that each party to the marriage will have attained 18 years of age at the time the marriage license is effective or will have attained 16 years of age and has obtained judicial approval as provided in 40-1-213; and

    (2) satisfactory proof that the marriage is not prohibited.

Applying For a Marriage License in Montana

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Religious
Mandatory Waiting Period:
None
License Valid For:
180 Days
License Must Be Submitted:
Within 30 Days of Ceremony

Montana does not require a mandatory waiting period for couples looking to get married in the state. Once granted, a marriage license is valid for up to 180 days. It must be submitted no later than 30 days after the wedding ceremony.

Montana state-issued marriage licenses can be solemnized in either civil or religious ceremonies. However, ministers ordained by the Universal Life Church are empowered to perform religious ceremonies specifically and cannot perform nonreligious ceremonies.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    § 40-1-212

    A license to marry is effective upon issuance and expires after 180 days.

Montana Marriage Requirements

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

To get married in Montana, you must be at least 18 years old. However, state law does allow parties as young as 16 to get married with judicial approval.

The state of Montana recognizes marriage equality as the law; this means that couples are not required to live in the state prior to getting married. The state recognizes the unions of same-sex couples and couples from out of state as legally binding marriages.

However, the state does not allow marriage between first cousins.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    § 40-1-107

    (1) The director of the department of public health and human services shall prescribe the form for an application for a marriage license, which must include the following information: (a) name, sex, address, [social security number,] and date and place of birth of each party to the proposed marriage; (b) if either party was previously married, the party's name and the date, place, and court in which the marriage was dissolved or declared invalid or the date and place of death of the former spouse; (c) name and address of the parents or guardian of each party; and (d) whether the parties are related to each other and, if so, their relationship. (2) The director of the department of public health and human services shall prescribe the forms for the marriage license, the marriage certificate, and the consent to marriage. [(3) The license, certificate, or consent may not contain the social security number, and the department shall keep the number from this source confidential, except that the department may use the number in administering Title IV-D of the Social Security Act.] (4) The information contained in the marriage license application is subject to the disclosure restrictions provided in 50-15-122(5).

Finalizing the Union

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

Once the ceremony is complete, the minister still has responsibilities to make sure the marriage is legally binding in the state of Montana.

Ministers normally have their own section of the marriage license to fill out. They must mark their title as "minister" and note their ordaining body as "Universal Life Church Ministries" on the license. Since ministers are not considered employees of the church, they must also provide their home address.

Once these steps have been taken, couples must return their marriage license to the clerk of the district court that originally issued it. This needs to be done within 30 days of the wedding in order for it to become legally binding.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    § 40-1-321

    (1) Upon receipt of the marriage certificate, the clerk of the district court shall register the marriage. (2) Every person solemnizing a marriage who shall neglect to make and deliver to the clerk of the district court a certificate thereof within 30 days after having solemnized such marriage shall forfeit for such neglect a sum not less than $10 or more than $50; and any clerk of the district court who shall neglect to record such certificate so delivered within 1 month after its delivery shall forfeit the like penalty.