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Missouri Marriage Laws

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Below you can read through our curated list of all Missouri laws related to marriage, weddings, officiants, and marriage licenses. If it is in any way marriage related, you will find it here.


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Missouri Revised Statutes § 451.080

1. The recorders of the several counties of this state, and the recorder of the city of St. Louis, shall, when applied to by any person legally entitled to a marriage license, issue the same which may be in the following form: State of Missouri ) ) ss. ) County of ______ ) This license authorizes any judge, associate circuit judge, licensed or ordained preacher of the gospel, or other person authorized under the laws of this state, to solemnize marriage between A B of ______, county of ______ and state of ______, who is ______ the age of eighteen years, and C D of ______, in the county of ______, state of ______, who is ______ the age of eighteen years.   2. If the man is under eighteen or the woman under eighteen, add the following: The custodial parent or guardian, as the case may be, of the said A B or C D (A B or C D, as the case may require), has given his or her assent to the said marriage. Witness my hand as recorder, with the seal of office hereto affixed, at my office, in ______, the ______ day of ______, 20______, recorder.   3. On which such license the person solemnizing the marriage shall, within fifteen days after the issuing thereof, make as near as may be the following return, and return such license to the officer issuing the same: State of Missouri ) ) ss. ) County of ______ ) This is to certify that the undersigned ______ did at ______, in said county, on the ______ day of ______ A.D. 20______, unite in marriage the above-named persons.

(RSMo 1939 § 3365, A.L. 1974 2d Ex. Sess. H.B. 11, A.L. 1993 S.B. 180, A.L. 2001 H.B. 157)

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Missouri Revised Statutes § 451.151

1. In addition to any other fee for the issuance of a marriage license there is hereby imposed a fee of twenty dollars to be paid by the person applying for such license. Such fee shall be collected by the recorder of deeds at the time the marriage license is issued.   2. In addition to any other fee for a certified copy of a marriage license there is hereby imposed a fee of seven dollars to be paid by the person applying for such certified copy. Such fee shall be collected by the recorder of deeds at the time the certified copy is issued. The recorder of deeds shall have the authority to differentiate, for fee imposition purposes, between a certified copy and a mere photocopy copy.   3. The recorder of deeds shall, at the end of each month, forward fifteen dollars for the issuance of a marriage license to the director of the department of revenue for deposit in the children's trust fund established in section 210.173, and five dollars for the issuance of a marriage license shall be paid to the county treasurer and deposited in a special trust fund to be expended only to provide financial assistance to shelters for victims of domestic violence, established pursuant to sections 455.200 to 455.230. The recorder of deeds shall at the end of each month forward seven dollars for each certified copy of a marriage license to the children's trust fund established in section 210.173.

(L. 1990 H.B. 1370, et al. § 9, A.L. 1992 H.B. 894)

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Missouri Revised Statutes § 451.240

When any such marriage contract is deposited in the recorder's office for record, it shall, as to all property affected by it in the county where the same is deposited, impart full notice to all persons of its contents; and no such contract shall be valid or affect any property except between the parties thereto and such as have actual notice thereof, until it shall be deposited for record, as herein prescribed.

(RSMo 1939 § 3375)

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Missouri Revised Statutes § 451.010

Marriage is considered in law as a civil contract, to which the consent of the parties capable in law of contracting is essential.

(RSMo 1939 § 3360)

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Missouri Revised Statutes § 451.020

All marriages between parents and children, including grandparents and grandchildren of every degree, between brothers and sisters of the half as well as the whole blood, between uncles and nieces, aunts and nephews, first cousins, and between persons who lack capacity to enter into a marriage contract, are presumptively void; and it shall be unlawful for any city, county or state official having authority to issue marriage licenses to issue such marriage licenses to the persons heretofore designated, and any such official who shall issue such licenses to the persons aforesaid knowing such persons to be within the prohibition of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor; and this prohibition shall apply to persons born out of lawful wedlock as well as those in lawful wedlock. It shall be presumed that marriages between persons who lack capacity to enter into a marriage contract are prohibited unless the court having jurisdiction over such persons approves the marriage.

(RSMo 1939 § 3361, A.L. 1961 p. 343, A.L. 1969 H.B. 564, A.L. 1983 S.B. 44 & 45)

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Missouri Revised Statutes § 451.022

1. It is the public policy of this state to recognize marriage only between a man and a woman.   2. Any purported marriage not between a man and a woman is invalid.   3. No recorder shall issue a marriage license, except to a man and a woman.   4. A marriage between persons of the same sex will not be recognized for any purpose in this state even when valid where contracted.

(L. 1996 S.B. 768 § 6, A.L. 2001 H.B. 157)

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Missouri Revised Statutes § 451.030

All marriages, where either of the parties has a former wife or husband living, shall be void, unless the former marriage shall have been dissolved.

(RSMo 1939 § 3362)

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Missouri Revised Statutes § 451.040

1. Previous to any marriage in this state, a license for that purpose shall be obtained from the officer authorized to issue the same, and no marriage contracted shall be recognized as valid unless the license has been previously obtained, and unless the marriage is solemnized by a person authorized by law to solemnize marriages.   2. Before applicants for a marriage license shall receive a license, and before the recorder of deeds shall be authorized to issue a license, the parties to the marriage shall present an application for the license, duly executed and signed in the presence of the recorder of deeds or their deputy. If an applicant is unable to sign the application in the presence of the recorder of deeds as a result of the applicant's incarceration or because the applicant has been called or ordered to active military duty out of the state or country, the recorder of deeds may issue a license if:   (1) An affidavit or sworn statement is submitted by the incarcerated or military applicant on a form furnished by the recorder of deeds which includes the necessary information for the recorder of deeds to issue a marriage license under this section. The form shall include, but not be limited to, the following:   (a) The names of both applicants for the marriage license;   (b) The date of birth of the incarcerated or military applicant;   (c) An attestation by the incarcerated or military applicant that both applicants are not related;   (d) The date the marriage ended if the incarcerated or military applicant was previously married;   (e) An attestation signed by the incarcerated or military applicant stating in substantial part that the applicant is unable to appear in the presence of the recorder* of deeds as a result of the applicant's incarceration or because the applicant has been called or ordered to active military duty out of the state or country, which will be verified by the professional or official who directs the operation of the jail or prison or the military applicant's military officer, or such professional's or official's designee, and acknowledged by a notary public commissioned by the state of Missouri at the time of verification. However, in the case of an applicant who is called or ordered** to active military duty outside Missouri, acknowledgement*** may be obtained by a notary public who is duly commissioned by a state other than Missouri or by notarial services of a military officer in accordance with the Uniform Code of Military Justice at the time of verification;   (2) The completed marriage license application of the incarcerated or military applicant is submitted which includes the applicant's Social Security number; except that, in the event the applicant does not have a Social Security number, a sworn statement by the applicant to that effect; and   (3) A copy of a government-issued identification for the incarcerated or military applicant which contains the applicant's photograph. However, in such case the incarcerated applicant does not have such an identification because the jail or prison to which he or she is confined does not issue an identification with a photo his or her notarized application shall satisfy this requirement.   3. Each application for a license shall contain the Social Security number of the applicant, provided that the applicant in fact has a Social Security number, or the applicant shall sign a statement provided by the recorder that the applicant does not have a Social Security number. The Social Security number contained in an application for a marriage license shall be exempt from examination and copying pursuant to section 610.024. After the receipt of the application the recorder of deeds shall issue the license, unless one of the parties withdraws the application. The license shall be void after thirty days from the date of issuance.   4. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor.   5. Common-law marriages shall be null and void.   6. Provided, however, that no marriage shall be deemed or adjudged invalid, nor shall the validity be in any way affected for want of authority in any person so solemnizing the marriage pursuant to section 451.100, if consummated with the full belief on the part of the persons, so married, or either of them, that they were lawfully joined in marriage.

(RSMo 1939 § 3364, A.L. 1943 p. 639, A.L. 1974 H.B. 981, A.L. 1978 H.B. 1634, A.L. 1981 S.B. 21 & 113, A.L. 1986 H.B. 931, A.L. 1997 S.B. 361, A.L. 1998 H.B. 987, A.L. 2001 H.B. 157, A.L. 2007 S.B. 22, A.L. 2014 S.B. 796)

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Missouri Revised Statutes § 451.090

1. No recorder shall issue a license authorizing the marriage of any male or female under sixteen years of age nor shall a license be issued authorizing the marriage of any male or female twenty-one years of age or older to a male or female under eighteen years of age.   2. No recorder shall issue a license authorizing the marriage of any male or female under the age of eighteen years, except with the consent of his or her custodial parent or guardian, which consent shall be given at the time, in writing, stating the residence of the person giving such consent, signed and sworn to before an officer authorized to administer oaths.   3. The recorder shall state in every license whether the parties applying for same, one or either or both of them, are of age, or whether the male is under the age of eighteen years or the female under the age of eighteen years, and if the male is under the age of eighteen years or the female is under the age of eighteen years, the name of the custodial parent or guardian consenting to such marriage. Applicants shall provide proof of age to the recorder in the form of a certified copy of the applicant's birth certificate, passport, or other government-issued identification, which shall then be documented by the recorder.

(RSMo 1939 § 3370, A.L. 1974 2d Ex. Sess. H.B. 11, A.L. 1978 H.B. 1634, A.L. 1993 S.B. 180, A.L. 2018 S.B. 655)

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Missouri Revised Statutes § 451.110

Every person solemnizing marriages under this chapter shall issue and deliver to the parties to such marriage a certificate thereof, which shall be furnished in blank by the officer who issues such license, setting forth the names and residence of the parties and the date of such marriage, and the county from which the license was issued and the date of same; and such certificates shall be prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated in all courts of this state.

(RSMo 1939 § 3369)

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Missouri Revised Statutes § 451.115

Every person who shall solemnize any marriage, having knowledge of any fact which renders such marriage unlawful or criminal in either of the parties under any law of this state, or, having knowledge or reasonable cause to believe that either of the parties shall be under the age of legal consent, or is prohibited by section 451.020 from entering into such marriage, or where to his knowledge, any other legal impediment exists to such marriage, and every person not authorized by law to solemnize marriages who shall falsely represent that he is so authorized, and who, by any pretended marriage ceremony which he may perform, shall deceive any innocent person or persons into the belief that they have been legally married, shall, on conviction, be adjudged guilty of a class C misdemeanor.

(RSMo 1939 § 4652, A.L. 1982 S.B. 785, A.L. 1983 S.B. 44 & 45)

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Missouri Revised Statutes § 451.120

Any person who shall solemnize any marriage wherein the parties have not obtained a license, as provided by this chapter, or shall fail to keep a record of the solemnization of any marriage, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be fined not exceeding five hundred dollars, and in addition shall be subject to a civil action by the parent, conservator or other person having care or custody of the person so married, to whom services are due wherein the recovery shall not exceed the sum of five hundred dollars; and any recorder who shall issue a license contrary to the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to a like punishment.

(RSMo 1939 § 3371, A.L. 1983 S.B. 44 & 45)

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Missouri Revised Statutes § 451.130

1. If any recorder willfully neglect or refuse to issue a license to any person legally entitled thereto on application, on payment or tender of the fee provided for in section 451.150, or shall fail to refuse to record such license, with the return thereon, as herein provided, he shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be fined in any sum not less than five nor more than one hundred dollars.   2. Every officer or person who shall fail to return a license within fifteen days after the issuing of the same, or who shall make a false return thereon, or any recorder who shall willfully make a false record of any marriage license or return thereon, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished as provided in the preceding part of this section.

(RSMo 1939 § 3367, A.L. 2001 H.B. 157)

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Missouri Revised Statutes § 451.150

The recorder shall record all marriage licenses issued in a well-bound book kept for that purpose, with the return thereon, for which he shall receive a fee of ten dollars to be paid for by the person obtaining the same.

(RSMo 1939 § 3366, A.L. 1972 H.B. 1447, A.L. 1986 H.B. 931, A.L. 1987 H.B. 384 Revision)

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Missouri Revised Statutes § 451.160

The reputed father and mother of children who were born before the ceremony of marriage is performed, as provided by this chapter, may, at the time of solemnization of said marriage, give to the officer the names of their children then living, or the descendants of such as may be dead; and it shall be the duty of such officer to record such names with his certificate of marriage.

(RSMo 1939 § 3372)

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Missouri Revised Statutes § 451.170

In any county in this state where the record of any marriage has been lost or destroyed, such record may be supplied by the minister or officer who solemnized any such marriage, by filing in the recorder's office of such county a certificate showing the names of the persons by him married, the date of such marriage, and the county in which the same was solemnized.

(RSMo 1939 § 3641)

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Missouri Revised Statutes § 451.180

In all counties in this state where records of marriages have been destroyed by fire or otherwise, any person whose record of marriage has been destroyed, or the heirs or descendants of such person, may obtain from the officer or minister who solemnized such marriage a certificate, showing dates, names of parties married, and witnesses present at said solemnization of marriage, so far as said officer or minister may be able to certify the same; and the record of said certificate shall be prima facie evidence of said marriage in all the courts of this state.

(RSMo 1939 § 3645)

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Missouri Revised Statutes § 451.190

If the minister or officer who solemnized any marriage, the record of which has been lost or destroyed, be dead, refuse to give a certificate as required by section 451.170, or his whereabouts be unknown, it shall be lawful for two credible persons who witnessed such marriage to make affidavit to the fact, giving the names of the persons, the name of the minister or officer officiating, and the date of such marriage, which shall be filed and recorded in the recorder's office of such county, which affidavit, or certified copy thereof, shall be prima facie evidence of such marriage in any court in this state.

(RSMo 1939 § 3642)

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Missouri Revised Statutes § 451.200

The recorders in such counties in this state wherein such records have been lost or destroyed shall file and record the certificates or affidavits provided for in sections 451.170 and 451.180, for which they shall be allowed the same fee as for recording other certificates of marriage, and shall furnish copies of such certificates or affidavits when required.

(RSMo 1939 § 3643)

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Missouri Revised Statutes § 451.210

In all counties of this state where the records of marriages have been burned or otherwise destroyed, the recorder of deeds or other officer whose duty it may be to record certificates of marriages shall purchase at the expense of his county a substantially bound book in which he shall record certificates of marriage, produced, and shown to him to be genuine, by any party or parties whose record of marriage has been burned or otherwise destroyed, and the heirs and descendants of such party or parties may produce the certificate of marriage herein contemplated, and have the same recorded, and the recorder or officer recording shall receive therefor the sum of fifty cents for each certificate recorded.

(RSMo 1939 § 3644)

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Missouri Revised Statutes § 451.220

All marriage contracts whereby any estate, real or personal, in this state, is intended to be secured or conveyed to any person or persons, or whereby such estate may be affected in law or equity, shall be in writing, and acknowledged by each of the contracting parties, or proved by one or more subscribing witnesses.

(RSMo 1939 § 3373)

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Missouri Revised Statutes § 451.230

Such marriage contracts shall be acknowledged or proved before the same officer and certified in the same manner as deeds of conveyance for land are or shall be required by law to be acknowledged or proved and certified; and they shall be recorded, with the certificate of proof or acknowledgment, in the office of the recorder of each county where any estate is situated which is intended to be conveyed or affected thereby.

(RSMo 1939 § 3374)

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Missouri Revised Statutes § 451.100

Marriages may be solemnized by any clergyman, either active or retired, who is in good standing with any church or synagogue in this state. Marriages may also be solemnized, without compensation, by any judge, including a municipal judge. Marriages may also be solemnized by a religious society, religious institution, or religious organization of this state, according to the regulations and customs of the society, institution or organization, when either party to the marriage to be solemnized is a member of such society, institution or organization.

(RSMo 1939 § 3363, A.L. 1945 p. 1145, A.L. 1969 p. 545, A.L. 1978 H.B. 1634, A.L. 1989 H.B. 898, A.L. 1998 H.B. 987)

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solemnization of marriage

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