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Bridal Guide

Add marriage license to ‘must do’ list

1/10/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Before couples say their marriage vows, they need to obtain a marriage license from their county probate court.
Photo courtesy of MetroCreativeConnection
SUMMIT/MEDINA COUNTIES — Before you say “I do,” there’s one thing couples should put on their “must-do” list.

Betrothed couples must obtain a marriage license before their wedding, and both the bride and groom must be present for this task.

A marriage license is essentially a permit — legal confirmation that couples are free to marry each other, have obtained divorce or widowhood papers, if necessary, and are of legal age.

In Ohio, marriage licenses are administered by county probate courts. If you are marrying anywhere in the state, you can obtain your license in any county. If getting a license in Summit or Medina counties, at least one member of the marrying couple must live in the county.

If an engaged couple lives out of state but plans to marry in Ohio, the license must be obtained in the county where the wedding will take place.

Where and when to go: According to Summit County Probate Court, licenses are good for a period of 60 days, so make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to get to the courthouse to apply. In Summit and Medina counties, the licenses are issued immediately, so even if you do forget, you can get it the day of the wedding as long as you get to the courthouse in time. Keep in mind that the courts are not open on Saturdays, however.

To get a marriage license in Summit County, go to Summit County Probate Court in the Summit County Court House, 209 S. High St. in Downtown Akron. The cost for a license is $50 and is payable in cash or by Ohio check. The court’s hours are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. The office previously was open on Saturdays, but those hours were eliminated in 2012. For more information, call 330-643-2346 or go to www.summitohioprobate.com. The application form can be downloaded from the website and filled out beforehand.

In Medina, the Medina County Probate Court is located at 93 Public Square. The cost is $62 and payable in cash only. The court is open Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For details, call 330-725-9703 or go to www.medinajuvenile.org.

What to bring: A bride and groom must apply for a license in person. Applicants should be prepared to provide photo identification when going to get a license. The couple also will be required to fill out an application that asks for names, current addresses, Social Security numbers, birthdates and parents’ names. If a parent’s name is unknown, the applicant must then provide a birth certificate.

If either the bride- or groom-to-be were previously married, the applicant will be asked about that marriage and how it ended. If the applicant is divorced, he or she must provide a certified copy of the divorce decree to the probate court.

The court also specifies in Medina that if either applicant had prior marriages, the applicant must include the names of the other parties and the names of any minor children. If the marriage ended in divorce or dissolution, the applicant must submit a certified copy of the most recent divorce decree. If the prior spouse is deceased, the applicant must submit a certified copy of the death certificate.

At what age can couples get a marriage license?: Ohio allows males 18 and older and females 16 and older who are no closer of kin than second cousins to apply for a license. All applicants younger than 18 must have a letter from their minister or a marriage counselor stating they have received marriage counseling. Also, a couple in which the male is younger than 18 or the female is younger than 16 must have the consent of juvenile court to marry. A bride-to-be who is 16 or 17 also must have the permission of her parents or guardians to wed.

Destination wedding licenses: When planning a destination wedding at a resort or vacation site, whether it’s in the United States or not, make sure one of your first questions is how to obtain the necessary license to make your wedding legal.

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