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Getting married in Iowa

IMPORTANT NOTE: Marriage laws and license requirements change continually, so please check the latest information with your local marriage license bureau office or county clerk's office before making your wedding or travel plans, and before inviting your guests.

In Iowa, a license to marry may be applied for only from a County Registrar. These officials also perform County Recorder functions and have offices either in a county courthouse or county administration building.

Persons who wish to marry in Iowa, and who meet the criteria given below, may complete an “Application to Marry in Iowa” form. All items on the application, other than those marked optional, must be completed to process the request for a License to Marry in Iowa, including the Affidavit of Competent and Disinterested Person on the reverse side of the application form.

Applications may only be obtained from a County Registrar’s office, either in person or by mail. Applications can be returned by either of the applicants to the county in which the application and marriage certificate are to be filed. The county of license does NOT have to be the same county in Iowa in which the marriage ceremony takes place.

Who may apply for a marriage license

Applicants are NOT required to be U.S. citizens.

Iowa law provides that marriage is a civil contract between two persons who must be 18 years of age or older; not already or still legally married to someone else or to each other; not closely related by blood or first cousins; and legally competent to enter into a civil contract.

Persons aged 16 and 17 may only marry with special permission from a judge and should request a “Consent to Marriage of a Minor” form when making application for their marriage license. Complete the form and present it to a judge within the same judicial district as the county in which you wish your license issued. The Clerk of District Court office can provide additional information. Return the signed form to the County Registrar in order to complete the marriage application process.

Common-law marriage

Common-law marriage is legal in Iowa. The requirements for a common-law marriage are: (1) intent and agreement to be married; (2) continuous cohabitation; and (3) public declarations that the parties are husband and wife.

ID requirements

The bride, groom and one witness (who must be 18 years old or older) must present photo identification (driver's license or state ID).

All parties must provide satisfactory proof of identification to the notary public upon signing their application to marry.

Previous marriages

If either party were previously married, they need to show the date of divorce or date of spouse's death. If the divorce was within 60 days, a signed copy of the divorce decree will need to be provided.

Blood tests and other tests

No tests are required in Iowa.

Marriage ceremonies and witnesses

All parties involved in the marriage ceremony must be in the same geographic location. At a minimum, the parties to be married, the officiant, and two witnesses must be physically present.

An individual of legal age who is acquainted with both parties who plan to marry is required to complete the affidavit on the back of the marriage application and sign it in front of a notary public. This person must be unbiased regarding the result of the pending marriage and competent to enter a civil contract. A family member may serve as the disinterested person if he or she meets these criteria.

Officiants

The authorized officiant who performs the marriage ceremony is required to return the completed and signed certificate form within 15 days after the ceremony.

Fees

The fee is $35.00 and includes a certified copy of the Certificate of Marriage. The fee is NOT refundable if the marriage does not occur.

Waiting period

Once the County Registrar receives the completed Application to Marry in Iowa, either of the parties to the application may pick up the license any time after three business days. If the license is not picked up within six months from the date of application, the application is considered null and void.

If the parties wish to waive the 3-day waiting period, they may request a waiver application form from the County Registrar. There is a $5.00 fee payable to the County Registrar to waive the waiting period. The parties are responsible for locating a judge within the judicial district of the county in which they are filing the marriage license to grant the waiver.

Validity of license

The marriage license is only valid within the State of Iowa.

Copy of marriage certificate

When the Officiant files the Certificate of Marriage in the county of license, the County Registrar will review and register the record. The parties will then be issued a certified copy of their Certificate of Marriage in care of the couple’s most current address as known by the Registrar’s office.

Once registered, the County Registrar will issue you a certified copy of your Certificate of Marriage automatically per Iowa Code section 595.16A. The parties are responsible for including the Address Update form with the marriage record being returned for registration.

Additional certified copies of the Certificate of Marriage record may be obtained from either the County Registrar in the county of license or from the state vital records office. The current fee for certified copies is $15.00.

For more information

http://www.shco.org/rec_marriage_files/Marriage%20Instructions_200904.pdf

Here is a list of County Recorder offices in Iowa:

Adair County Recorder
Greenfield, IA
515.743.2411
Adams County Recorder
Corning, IA
515.322.3744
Allamakee County Recorder
Waukon, IA
319.568.2364
Appanoose County Recorder
Centerville, IA
515.856.6103
Audubon County Recorder
Audubon, IA
712.563.2119
Benton County Clerk
Vinton, IA
319.472.3309
Black Hawk County Recorder
Waterloo, IA
319.291.2472
Boone County Recorder
Boone, IA
515.433.0514
Bremer County Recorder
Waverly, IA
319.352.0401
Buchanan County Recorder
Independence, IA
319.334.4259
Buena Vista County Recorder
Storm Lake, IA
712.749.2539
Butler County Recorder
Allison, IA
319.267.2735
Calhoun County Recorder
Rockwell City, IA
712.297.8121
Carroll County Recorder
Carroll, IA
712.792.3328
Cass County Recorder
Atlantic, IA
712.243.1692
Cedar County Recorder
Tipton, IA
319.886.2230
Cerro Gordo County Recorder
Mason City, IA
515.421.3056
Chickasaw County Recorder
New Hampton, IA
515.394.2336
Clay County Recorder
Spencer, IA
712.262.1081
Clayton County Recorder
Elkader, IA
319.245.2710
Clinton County Recorder
Clinton, IA
319.244.0223
Crawford County Recorder
Dennison, IA
712.263.3643
Dallas County Recorder
Adel, IA
515.993.5804
Delaware County Recorder
Manchester, IA
319.927.4665
Des Moines County Rcdr.
Burlington, IA
319.753.8221
Dickenson County Recorder
Spirit Lake, IA
712.336.1495
Dubuque County Recorder
Debuque, IA
319.589.4434
Emmet County Recorder
Esterville, IA
712.362.4115
Fayette County Recorder
West Union, IA
319.422.3687
Floyd County Recorder
Charles City, IA
515.257.6154
Franklin County Recorder
Hampton, IA
515.456.5675
Fremont County Recorder
Sidney, IA
712.374.2315
Greene County Recorder
Jefferson, IA
515.386.3716
Grundy County Recorder
Grundy Center, IA
319.824.3234
Guthrie County Recorder
Guthrie Center, IA
515.747.3412
Hamilton County Recorder
Webster City, IA
515.832.9535
Hancock County Recorder
Garner, IA
515.923.2464
Hardin County Recorder
Eldora, IA
515.939.8178
Harrison County Recorder
Logan, IA
712.644.2545
Henry County Recorder
Mt. Pleasant, IA
319.385.0765
Humboldt County Recorder
Dakota City, IA
515.332.3693
Ida County Recorder
Ida Grove, IA
712.364.2220
Iowa County Recorder
Marengo, IA
319.642.3622
Jackson County Recorder
Maquoketa, IA
319.652.2504
Jasper County Recorder
Newton, IA
515.792.5442
Jefferson County Recorder
Fairfield, IA
515.472.4331
Kossuth County Recorder
Algona, IA
515.295.5660
Lee County Recorder
Fort Madison, IA
319.372.4662
Lee County Recorder
Keokuk, IA
319.524.1126
Linn County Recorder
Cedar Rapids, IA
319.398.3441
Louisa County Recorder
Wapello, IA
319.523.5361
Lucas County Recorder
Chariton, IA
515.774.2413
Lyon County Recorder
Rock Rapids, IA
712.472.2381
Madison County Recorder
Winterset, IA
515.462.3771
Mahaska County Recorder
Oskaloosa, IA
515.673.8187
Marion County Recorder
Knoxville, IA
515.828.2211
Marshall County Recorder
Marshalltown, IA
515.754.6355
Mills County Recorder
Glenwood, IA
712.527.9315
Mitchell County Recorder
Osage, IA
515.732.5861
Monona County Recorder
Onawa, IA
712.423.2575
Monroe County Recorder
Albia, IA
515.932.5164
Montgomery County Recorder
Red Oak, IA
712.623.4363
Muscatine County Recorder
Muscatine, IA
319.263.7741
Obrien County Recorder
Primghar, IA
712.757.3045
Osceola County Recorder
Sibley, IA
712.754.3345
Page County Recorder
Clarinda, IA
712.542.3130
Palo Alto County Recorder
Emmetsburg, IA
712.852.3701
Plymouth County Recorder
Le Mars, IA
712.546.4020
Polk County Recorder
Des Moines, IA
515.286.3160
Pottawattamie County Rcdr.
Council Bluffs, IA
712.328.5612
Poweshiek County Recorder
Montezuma, IA
515.623.5434
Sac County Recorder
Sac City, IA
712.662.7789
Shelby County Recorder
Harlan, IA
712.755.5640
Sioux County Recorder
Orange City, IA
712.737.2229
Story County Recorder
Nevada, IA
515.382.7230
Tama County Recorder
Toledo, IA
515.484.3320
Wapello County Recorder
Ottumwa, IA
515.683.0045
Warren County Recorder
Indianola, IA
515.961.1089
Washington County Recorder
Washington, IA
319.653.7727
Webster County Recorder
Fort Dodge, IA
515.576.2401
Winnebago County Recorder
Forest City, IA
515.582.2094
Winnesheik County Recorder
Decorah, IA
319.382.3486
Woodbury County Recorder
Sioux City, IA
712.279.6528
Worth County Recorder
Northwood, IA
515.324.2734
Wright County Recorder
Clarion, IA
515.532.3204

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