Universal Life Church

North Dakota Wedding Laws

North Dakota is known as the Peace Garden State for the international park on its border with Canada. From the iconic Red River Valley in the east to the rugged Badlands in the west, North Dakota is known as a land of stark beauty that provides a unique backdrop for a wedding ceremony. Referencing relevant legal codes for accuracy, the following guide spells out the details of marriage laws in North Dakota in understandable terms. Follow the guide to ensure that brides, grooms, and officiants know what is required of them for a legally binding marriage in North Dakota.

How to Become a Wedding Officiant in North Dakota

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

If you are the minister officiating a wedding in North Dakota, the documentation you must provide can vary from county to county. However, as long as you possess the necessary credentials, your personal beliefs, stated gender, and place of residence should have no bearing on whether you are deemed a legitimate officiant. Upon your online ordination as a minister by the Universal Life Church, you are considered a religious actor.

Wedding officiants in North Dakota must be at least 18 years old. The right to solemnize marriages in North Dakota is granted to individuals authorized by the rituals of any religious persuasion, as well as ordained ministers of recognized denominations, judges, and recorders.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    N.D. Cent. Code § 14-03-09. Who may solemnize marriages.

    Marriages may be solemnized at any location within the state by:

    1. All judges of courts of record;

    2. Municipal judges;

    3. Recorders, unless the board of county commissioners designates a different official;

    4. Ordained ministers of the gospel, priests, and clergy, authorized by recognized

    denominations; and

    1. By any individual authorized by the rituals and practices of any religious persuasion

Getting Married in North Dakota

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

For the marriage to be valid, both parties must be physically present and give formal consent to the union at some point in the ceremony before an authorized officiant and at least two witnesses. Otherwise, you are free to plan your ceremony in line with your common spiritual needs as you see fit.

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    N.D. Cent. Code § 14-03-20. License and certificate.

    The marriage license and certificate of the person solemnizing the marriage must be upon one blank form in duplicate consisting of two pages with a perforated seam to make it readily detachable. The form must be substantially as follows:

    MARRIAGE LICENSE

    State of North Dakota )

                                    ) ss.
    

    County of _________ )

    To any person authorized by law to perform the marriage ceremony: You may join in marriage __________ of ___________, aged _____ who has ______ been divorced, and ___________ of __________, aged _____ who has ______ been divorced. You shall return this license and your certificate to my office within five days.

    Dated _________, ______.

    (Seal)


    Recorder/Designated Official

    CERTIFICATE OF MARRIAGE

    I certify that the persons named in the foregoing license, _________ and

    _________, whose names after marriage are ___________ and __________, respectively, were joined in marriage by me at ___________, county of __________, State of North Dakota, on __________, _____.

    In the presence of

    ___________________________ ) ___________________________

    ___________________________ ) ___________________________

    Witnesses

    Every marriage license must contain the full name of each party before the marriage. Every certificate of marriage must contain the full name of each party before and after the marriage and be signed by two witnesses to the marriage in addition to the signature of the person who solemnized the marriage.

How to Get a North Dakota Marriage License

Min. Age of Witnesses:
None
Couple's Consent Required:
Yes
Pronouncement Required:
Yes

If you wish to get married in North Dakota but are not residents, you must obtain your marriage license in the county where you intend to hold the ceremony. If you are residents of the state, you should purchase your license in the county where you live. In either case, you and your future spouse must present yourselves to the county recorder together to obtain your license.

In addition to the fee to purchase your marriage license, you must pay an additional $30 if you intend to hold the ceremony at the county courthouse. Such a ceremony must take place during normal courthouse hours. Otherwise, the fee to purchase your license is $65, a portion of which goes to help domestic violence victims.

When purchasing your marriage license, you must attest to your eligibility in a sworn affidavit. If you knowingly provide any false information in the statement, you may have to pay a fine. Both you and your future spouse must present Social Security cards, government-issued photo identification to verify your ages, and relevant divorce decrees if either of you has been married before. You and your future spouse must also decide upon your post-marriage surnames before you can obtain your license.

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    N.D. Cent. Code § 14-03-17. Application for license.

    1. When application is made to a recorder, unless the board of county commissioners designates a different official, for a marriage license, the recorder, or designated official, shall inquire of the applicant concerning the legality of the contemplated marriage. The recorder, or designated official, may examine other witnesses. The facts concerning the legality of the marriage may be submitted to the recorder, or designated official, by affidavit. The recorder, or designated official, also shall require each applicant to submit the following facts upon blanks provided by the county, together with documentary evidence of age:

    a. An affidavit by each of the applicants showing that each is over the age of eighteen years. In addition, each applicant shall exhibit to the recorder, or designated official, a birth certificate or other satisfactory evidence of age. If either applicant is under the age of eighteen years, the recorder, or designated official, shall require the written consent of:

    (1) Either parent of the minor applicant, if the parents are living together;

    (2) The parent having the legal custody of the minor applicant, if the parents are not living together;

    (3) The surviving parent, if one of the parents of the minor applicant is deceased; or

    (4) The guardian, or person under whose care and government the minor applicant is, if both parents of the minor applicant are deceased, or if a person other than a parent has legal and actual custody of the minor applicant.

    b. An affidavit showing whether either or both of the parties have been divorced. If a decree of divorce has been granted to either or both of the parties, a certified copy of the decree must be filed with the application. A license shall not be issued if it contravenes any provisions of the divorce decree.

    1. All affidavits must be subscribed and sworn to before a person authorized to administer oaths. The recorder, or designated official, shall retain on file all papers and records pertaining to all marriage licenses. Anyone knowingly swearing falsely to the statements contained in any affidavit mentioned in this section is subject to the penalty provided in section 14-03-28.

    2. Each application for a marriage license must also contain a statement regarding surname options which is consistent with section 14-03-20.1.

    3. Each application for a marriage license must contain the social security number of each applicant.

    N.D. Cent. Code § 14-03-10. Marriage may not be solemnized without license.

    A person may not solemnize any marriage until the parties to the marriage produce a license regularly issued not more than sixty days before the date of the marriage by:

    1. A recorder serving the county in which either of the contracting parties resides or is temporarily domiciled, unless the board of county commissioners designates a

    different official;

    1. A recorder serving the county in which a parent of either of the parties resides or is temporarily domiciled, unless the board of county commissioners designates a different official; or

    2. A recorder serving the county in which the marriage is to be solemnized, unless the board of county commissioners designates a different official.

    For the purpose of obtaining a marriage license, a member of the armed forces of the United States stationed within the state of North Dakota is deemed to reside in the county in which that person is stationed.

    N.D. Cent. Code § 14-03-22. Marriage license fee – Supplemental fee – Fee for marriage ceremony – Duties of officers.

    1. For the issuance and filing of a marriage license, the recorder, unless the board of county commissioners designates a different official, shall collect a fee of up to thirty dollars from the party applying for the license.

    2. In addition to the license fee provided for in subsection 1, the recorder, or designated official, shall collect from the applicant a supplemental fee of thirty-five dollars for aid to victims of domestic violence through the domestic violence prevention fund in accordance with chapter 14-07.1.

    3. For performing a marriage ceremony during regular courthouse hours, the recorder, or designated official, shall collect a fee of thirty dollars which is to be retained by the county. If the marriage ceremony is performed at a time other than during regular courthouse hours, the recorder, or designated official, may collect and retain a fee in an amount to be determined by the recorder, or designated official.

    4. Except as provided in this section, all collected fees must be deposited monthly with the county treasurer. The county treasurer shall forward the amount represented by supplemental fees to the state treasurer by the fifteenth of each month for crediting to the domestic violence prevention fund.

    5. The recorder, or designated official, shall prepare a copy of the license and certificate and transmit them to the registrar of vital statistics who shall record them in a book of records kept in the registrar's office for that purpose. The registrar shall index the records and upon request shall issue certified copies of the recorded license and certificate for a one dollar fee. The registrar shall keep an accurate account of these fees and shall turn them over to the state treasurer by the fifteenth of each month for crediting to the general fund.

Applying For a Marriage License in North Dakota

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Religious
Mandatory Waiting Period:
None
License Valid For:
60 Days
License Must Be Submitted:
Within 5 Days of Ceremony

If you and your future spouse are residents of North Dakota, you must obtain your marriage license in the county where you live or where one of your parents lives, but you can hold the wedding ceremony in any county in the state. However, if you do not live in North Dakota, your license is only valid in the county where you obtained it. In either case, the license is only valid for a 60-day period after it is issued. If you or your future spouse is an active member of the military, you will be deemed residents of the county where you are stationed.

Within five days of your solemnized marriage, the official who originally issued your marriage license must receive the marriage certificate along with the original copy of the license.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    N.D. Cent. Code § 14-03-10. Marriage may not be solemnized without license.

    A person may not solemnize any marriage until the parties to the marriage produce a

    license regularly issued not more than sixty days before the date of the marriage by:

    1. A recorder serving the county in which either of the contracting parties resides or is

    temporarily domiciled, unless the board of county commissioners designates a

    different official;

    1. A recorder serving the county in which a parent of either of the parties resides or is

    temporarily domiciled, unless the board of county commissioners designates a different official; or

    1. A recorder serving the county in which the marriage is to be solemnized, unless the

    board of county commissioners designates a different official.

    For the purpose of obtaining a marriage license, a member of the armed forces of the United States stationed within the state of North Dakota is deemed to reside in the county in which that person is stationed.

    N.D. Cent. Code § 14-03-21. Return of license and certificate – Duplicate delivered to persons married – Records kept – Penalty.

    When a person authorized by law solemnizes a marriage, that person shall fill out and sign the certificate following the license in duplicate, giving the person's official title, or if a minister of the gospel or priest, the ecclesiastical body with which the minister or priest is connected. The original copy of the certificate and license must be returned to the official who issued the license within five days after the date of the solemnization of the marriage and the duplicate copy must be immediately delivered to the persons married. The official shall file the original copy and retain it as an official record. Any person who willfully neglects to make such return within the time required is subject to the penalty provided in section 14-03-28.

North Dakota 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 keeping with recent changes to federal laws, North Dakota allows same-sex couples to marry as long as they meet the other requirements. You do not need to reside in North Dakota to get married there.

If you and your future spouse wish to get married in North Dakota, you must be able to demonstrate that you are at least 18 years of age and currently unmarried. There is an exception for those at least 16 years old whose parents or legal guardians have consented to the marriage in writing.

The state of North Dakota will void any marriage that it deems to be incestuous. This includes unions between first cousins through half or whole blood, siblings, illegitimate children and relatives, grandparents and grandchildren, or between an aunt or uncle and a niece or nephew.

  • Show Legal Excerpt+

    N.D. Cent. Code § 14-03-02. Lawful age for marriage.

    Any unmarried person of the age of eighteen years or more, and not otherwise disqualified, is capable of consenting to and consummating a marriage. If a person is sixteen to eighteen years of age, a marriage license may not be issued without the consent of the parents or guardian, if there are any. A marriage license may not be issued to any person below the age of sixteen, notwithstanding the consent of the parents or guardian of said person.

    N.D. Cent. Code § 14-03-03. Void marriages.

    The following marriages are incestuous and void:

    1. Marriage between parents and children, including grandparents and grandchildren of every degree.

    2. Marriage between brothers and sisters of the half as well as the whole blood.

    3. Marriage between uncles and nieces of the half as well as the whole blood.

    4. Marriage between aunts and nephews of the half as well as the whole blood.

    5. Marriage between first cousins of the half as well as the whole blood.

    This section applies to illegitimate as well as legitimate children and relatives.

Finalizing the Union

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

An officiant who willfully neglects to file the paperwork with the official who issued the marriage license within five days of the ceremony is subject to a fine. The required documentation includes original copies of the license and the certificate to be filled out at the conclusion of the ceremony. The latter must be filled out with the officiant's home address, official title, and ecclesiastical body with which he or she is connected, the Universal Life Church in this case. For the certificate to be valid, the officiant must sign it.

There are actually two copies of the certificate that the officiant must fill out and sign. The original is submitted to the appropriate county official, while the other copy goes to the couple.