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Iowa Wedding Laws

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Congratulations on your engagement! Here's what you need to know to make the marriage legal in Iowa.

In order to get married, you need to apply and receive a marriage license. This is the document in your state that allows you to officially tie the knot under the law. The rules for acquiring your marriage license varies from state to state, so you should check with your city's marriage bureau at your clerk of court's office to find out what your local rules are.

You'll typically need to apply for your marriage license at least one month before your wedding ceremony. You'll traditionally need to send in your birth certificates, tax information, and other official documents. You don't, however, want to apply for your marriage license too early. In some states, the licenses do expire, if you don't get married within a few months.

When you apply for your license, you'll not only need a proof of identification and age, will need to provide any information about previous marriages, and will need to pay a nominal fee. You will also need to have a witness when you sign the application, so plan on bringing your maid of honor or best man with you. The bride will need to know what her married name will be before she signs the marriage certificate. You'll have to write that name on the application.

And, believe it or not, just because you have your marriage license sent to you in the mail does not mean you are officially married. You need to have a justice of the peace or a religious clergyman sign the document. On your wedding day, you'll give your chaplain your marriage license, then after the ceremony, he'll sign it and send it to the proper government agency for validation.

ID Requirement: Picture identification. You need to provide Social Security information.

Application Requirement: Both the bride and groom must appear in person at the time of applying.

Residency Requirement: Do not have to be a resident of Iowa.

Witness: You need to have one witness (over 18 years of age) with you when you apply for the license.

Waiting Period: Three business day waiting period.

If Divorced: A divorce must be final and filed before applicants can apply for a license.

Fees: $35+ - cash only. Varies from County to County.

Other Tests: No other tests necessary.

Under 18: Applicants 16 or 17 years of age need to have parental consent.

Proxy Marriages: No. However, if one party can't be present at the Recorder's Office to apply for the license, the absent party can sign the application before a Notary Public.

Cousin Marriages: No.

Common Law Marriages: Yes.

Same Sex Marriages:  YES

Officiants: Ministers of the gospel who are ordained by their church may perform marriages. Minister must give a certificate of marriage to the bride and to the groom. Also, the minister must report the marriage to the clerk of the district court within 15 days after the marriage.

Valid: License is valid for 6 months.
The license can only be used within the State of Iowa.

Iowa County Recorder's Office

Adair County Recorders
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 Rcdr.
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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