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North Dakota Wedding Laws

Written and updated for precision by the North Dakota marriage law research team at GetOrdained™ on

Because of North Dakota's clear skies and friendly people, marrying in the Peace Garden State is ideal both for state residents and out-of-town couples who want a one-of-a-kind marriage ceremony. North Dakota has something for every marrying couple, including expansive plains, tranquil lakes and fun cities. Whether you intend to marry your best friend in North Dakota or to officiate a wedding in the state, you want to learn as much as possible about marriage laws in the Peace Garden State. This guide explains marriage rules, couple requirements and minister obligations. Continue reading to ensure your special day turns into a legally binding marriage.

Getting Married in North Dakota

Marriage By Proxy Allowed:
No
Minister Required to be Present:
Yes
Number of Witnesses Required:
2
Min. Age of Witnesses:
None
Couple's Consent Required:
Yes
Pronouncement Required:
Yes

With a couple of exceptions, North Dakota law does not set parameters on marriage ceremonies. Accordingly, couples and officiants may plan and conduct their ceremonies as they see fit. The ceremony may or may not contain religious and spiritual elements.

Nevertheless, the couple must formally consent to the marriage during the ceremony. The minister also must pronounce the couple legally married.

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

To marry in North Dakota, both members of the couple must not be married to anyone else. They also must be at least 18. For 16- and 17-year-old individuals, marriage in North Dakota is possible with the written consent of parents or legal guardians.

North Dakota does not permit marriage between close relatives. Siblings; grandparents and their grandchildren; uncles, aunts, and their nieces and nephews and first cousins may not legally marry in North Dakota. State law considers whole blood, half-blood, illegitimate children and relatives to be close kin.

Like all other states, North Dakota recognizes same-sex marriage. This is true whether the couple resides in the state or lives somewhere else.

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

In North Dakota, judges, county recorders, ordained ministers of recognized denominations, and other authorized religious actors may perform a marriage ceremony. Nevertheless, the officiant must be at least 18.

Ministers who receive their ordination from the Universal Life Church are religious actors. This is true regardless of the place of residence, gender or personal beliefs of the minister. Consequently, North Dakota law permits ministers from the Universal Life Church to solemnize marriages. To do so, a minister may have to produce ordination credentials or other documents.

Documentation requirements vary from county to county, so ministers should check with the recorder who issued the marriage license to ensure all necessary documentation is on file.

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

After issuance, North Dakota marriage licenses are good for 60 days in the county of their issuance. On the other hand, if the members of the couple apply in their home county or their parents' home county, the license is valid for 60 days anywhere in North Dakota. State law considers active members of the military to be residents of the county where they are stationed.

After completing the ceremony and solemnizing the marriage, the officiant must return the completed marriage license and attached certificate to the same county recorder who issued it. This must be done within five days of the ceremony.

How to Get a North Dakota Marriage License

Who Picks Up License:
The Couple
Where License is Valid:
Any County in North Dakota
Marriage License Pick-Up:
In Person Only
Cost of License:
$65.00
Accepted I.D. Types:
Photo ID
Proof of Divorce Required (If Applicable):
Yes
Blood Test Required:
No

Before marrying in North Dakota, the couple must obtain a marriage license from the county recorder where they or their parents live. If the couple is from out of state, the couple must apply in the county where the ceremony will take place.

The cost of applying for a marriage license in North Dakota is $65, with $35 of the fee going to help victims of domestic violence. If the couple marries at the courthouse, there is an additional $30 fee.

To apply for a marriage license, the couple must appear in person. Both members of the couple must submit a sworn affidavit to confirm their ages. They must also show a government-issued ID and disclose their social security numbers. Finally, both members of the couple must notify the court about previous marriages and provide relevant divorce decrees.

It is important to be accurate when completing marriage license applications in North Dakota, as false information may lead to a fine.

Finalizing the Union

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

After completing the marriage ceremony, the couple may be ready to celebrate or start the honeymoon. The officiating minister still has some work to do, however. Ministers who perform marriage ceremonies in North Dakota must complete and sign both copies of the marriage license.

When completing marriage licenses, Universal Life Church ministers should record their minister titles. They should also note they are connected to the Universal Life Church and provide their home addresses for the church's address.

Once ministers have completed both copies of the license, they should give one copy to the married couple. The other copy and attached certificate must return to the recorder who issued it within five days of the marriage.

Ministers who neglect to return the completed license and certificate on time may have to pay a fine.

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