LGBT Rights

Getting Married in Ohio FAQ

06.26.15

For full details on how and when you can apply for a marriage license in Ohio, please contact or check the website of the probate court in the county where you intend to be married.

Please note that we are not providing any legal advice with this information.

Where can I get a marriage license?

The probate court in each of Ohio’s 88 counties is the only place in Ohio authorized to issue a marriage license. To apply for a license, both of you must go to the probate court of the county where one of you lives. If neither of you is an Ohio resident, you must apply in the county where the marriage will be performed.

Click here for a full list of probate courts across Ohio. Note: We have done all we can to verify this information, but you should call ahead before going to apply for a marriage license.

Can we marry the day we obtain and submit our marriage license application?

Yes. Effective February 2001, there is no longer a five-day waiting period. As soon as you get your license you can have your marriage ceremony.

How long does the marriage license stay valid?

The marriage license is good for 60 days. If your marriage is not performed within that time, you must get a new license. You will have to reapply and pay the fees associated with the application process.

The online application for a marriage license asks us to declare the date we plan to marry. What if we don’t know exactly what date?

Marriage licenses are valid for 60 days after they are issued. It is okay if you don’t have an exact date. If you are required to enter a day on the application, make sure that it is within 60 days of when you submit online.

What identification will we need to provide the county clerk?

Both people must have valid picture I.D. with the name that is entered on the marriage license application in order to prove age and verify any of the items you will have to swear to under oath. Those things are your:

  • Legal name
  • Age
  • Residence
  • Place of birth
  • Occupation
  • Father’s name and Mother’s maiden name

During the process you will likely need to provide your Social Security number.

The best document to bring with you is your birth certificate, followed by your valid passport. Other government issued IDs, such as driver’s licenses, visas, or other state-issued IDs should also be acceptable. You also should take a current utility bill for proof of address. If you identify as trans, please visit this site for more information about documentation.

How much does it cost? Can I pay with a credit card?

The fee for a marriage license varies by county, but expect to pay more than $40. Some counties will only accept cash, others will accept money orders and credit cards. Click here for each county’s phone number. Please contact the probate court in the appropriate county for fee amounts.

Can I get a license in a different county than where I live?

It depends. To apply for a marriage license, you must both visit the probate court of the county where one of you lives. If neither of you is an Ohio resident, you must apply in the county where the marriage will be performed.

Do we both have to be present to receive a marriage license?

Yes. Whether you complete the license application online or in the probate court office, both parties must appear together in the probate court county office to sign the license at the time it is issued. Both parties must have a valid picture I.D. reflecting the name that is entered on the marriage license application.

If we were married in another state or country, can we get married in Ohio?

No. If you were legally married in another state or jurisdiction, congratulations! You are already legally married, and you do not need to get married in Ohio. Once the freedom to marry is won, Ohio will recognize legal marriages performed in other jurisdictions. Many couples may choose to renew their vows in Ohio, but a renewal of vows does not require a marriage license.

What if one of us was previously married?

If one, or both of you, has been married before, you must include in your application the names of the parties to that marriage and the names of any children under the age of 18. If either one of you has been divorced, you must provide the places, dates, and case numbers of the divorces. Also, you must present a certified copy of the most recent divorce decree at the time you apply.

We have a civil union or domestic partnership in another state. Do we need to get married in Ohio?

Yes. Ohio does not recognize civil unions or domestic partnerships. If you would like your relationship officially recognized by the state of Ohio, you must get married.

What if the clerk at my county turns me away or is not ready to issue licenses to same-sex couples as soon as it’s legal?

To apply for a marriage license, you must go to the probate court of the county in which one or the other of you lives. Once marriage equality is the law, we will be updating the county-by-county information here. If your county is not issuing licenses and if your partner lives in another county, check the map to see if their county is issuing licenses.

Do I have to be a resident of Ohio to get a marriage license in Ohio?

No. You do not have to be a resident of Ohio to receive a marriage license in Ohio. If neither of you are an Ohio resident, you must apply in the county where the marriage will be solemnized.

Who is qualified to officiate a ceremony?

  • An ordained or licensed minister from any religious congregation located in the state who is licensed to perform marriages.
  • A county court judge can perform the marriage anywhere in the state, not just in the county where they are a judge.
  • A municipal court judge (can perform the marriage anywhere in the state, not just the municipality where they are a judge);
  • A probate court judge (only in the county where the probate judge is judge).
  • The mayor of a city (anywhere in the county where their city lies. If a city straddles two counties they could perform the marriage in either county).
  • The superintendent of the state school for the deaf.
  • Any religious society in conformity with the rules of its church.

NOTE: Information has been provided by Why Marriage Matters Ohio. The ACLU of Ohio does not guarantee accuracy or completeness of the information presented.