Wedding Questions: How Do I Get My Marriage License?
The marriage license is a major and required part of legal Wisconsin wedding ceremonies. So how do you apply for a marriage license in the state of Wisconsin?
You and your future spouse will apply together and in person at the County Clerk's office in the county where at least one of you has been a resident for 30 days or more immediately prior to applying for the license. If both of you are nonresidents of the state, you'll obtain the license from the County Clerk in the county where the marriage ceremony will take place.
Each of you will be asked to provide a certified birth certificate, proof of age, ID, and residence, and documentation of prior marriages, if necessary. A certified birth certificate has the "registrar's raised, embossed, or multicolored seal; registrar's signature, and the date the certificate was filed with the registrar's office." Photo copies are not allowed.
In every WI county, a photo ID, such as a driver's license or passport, and a social security card or number should be enough to prove your age and ID, but each county may have different requirements. For example, Brown County accepts a photo ID and a social security card, but not a social security number.
You both will be asked to provide proof of residence. Documents may include a WI photo ID, utility bill, bank statement and a lease or rental agreement among others.
Documentation of prior marriages may be in the form of a finalized divorce judgement, death certificate, or legal annulment judgment.
Additional information you'll be asked to provide at the County Clerk's office includes your parents' full names, your mothers' maiden names, the name, address, phone number and e-mail address of your officiant, and the date and place of the marriage ceremony.
After you fill out the application and submit it to the clerk, you'll pay a fee. WI's fees considered expensive compared to the rest of the country. There is a 5-day waiting period before the license is issued. (Actually six days since you don't count the day you apply.) However, a waiver of the waiting period can be granted for any of the reasons outlined in chapter 765 of WI's statutes and with the payment of an additional fee.
If either of you is going to change your last name (surname) after the wedding, it's wise to include that information on your marriage license application. That will make it easier to change your surname with the Social Security Administration and other institutions. If you include this information on your marriage license application, it will become your legal surname after the marriage certificate has been signed and filed. However, your name won't automatically change. You still need to inform all interested parties of the change.
After the wedding ceremony is performed, the officiant must file the license at the Registrar of Deeds office in the county in which the ceremony took place within 3 days after the date of the marriage. All Wisconsin marriage licenses are valid for 30 days.
Brown County Clerk
111 North Jefferson St
Green Bay, WI 54301
www.co.brown.wi.us/departments (Click on County Clerk-Clerk-Marriage License Application-Marriage Application Brochure)
Outagamie County Clerk
410 S. Walnut St
Appleton, WI 54911
www.outagamie.org (Click on Government-County Clerk-Licenses and Permits-Marriage License Brochure)
Door County Clerk
421 Nebraska St
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
www.co.door.wi.gov (Click on Departments-County Clerk-Public Information: Marriage License Information)
Kewaunee County Clerk
613 Dodge St
Kewaunee, WI 54216
www.co.kewaunee.wi.gov (Click on Departments-County Clerk-Public Information: Website-Marriage License)
The above information is only for guidance and should not be regarded as legal advice. It is accurate as of April 2018. For more information about WI marriage license laws, please visit www.dhs.wisconsin.gov since state and county marriage license requirements frequently change.
Until next time,