North Dakota Marriage Laws

North Dakota, a midwestern state known for its Great Plains and rugged Badlands, can also present couples looking to get married inside its borders with more than a few bumps in the road if not properly planned. So whether you are the bride, the groom, or the officiating minister, please take a moment to read through these marriage law detailed guide. Each section has been compiled alongside relevant legal codes and then spelled out in plain English, so that your time in the so-called Peace Garden State will live up to the moniker, and produce a marriage that is legal and binding.

Requirements for the Couple

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

The state of North Dakota will only recognize the union of two unmarried individuals 18 years and older, except for those who are at least 16 and have the written consent of their parents or legal guardians. Same-sex couples, whether residents of the state or not, are also allowed to marry, in keeping with recent changes to federal laws.

All marriages deemed incestuous – between siblings, grandparents and grandchildren, uncles and nieces, aunts and nephews and first cousins, whether through half or whole blood, or even illegitimate children and relatives – will be considered void in the state.

Marriage License Requirements

Min. Age of Witnesses:
None
Couple's Consent Required:
Yes
Pronouncement Required:
Yes

Couples looking to secure a marriage license in North Dakota must both present themselves before a recorder in the county where either they or one of their parents live. Non-residents must purchase licenses in the county in which they plan to wed.

The recorder will ask both individuals to fill in sworn affidavits stating their age (provable by government issued photo ID) and whether or not either have been previously married, providing relevant divorce decrees if that is the case. Social security numbers must be produced and eventual surnames decide upon before any license is issued. Fines may be applied to any individual who knowingly provides false information.

A marriage license in North Dakota costs $65 – $35 of which will go toward aiding victims of domestic violence. Marriages performed at the court during regular courthouse hours will run the couple an extra $30.

Marriage License Facts

ULC-Officiated Ceremony Type:
Religious
Mandatory Waiting Period:
None
License Valid For:
60 Days
License Must Be Submitted:
Within 5 Days of Ceremony

Marriage licenses issued in North Dakota will be valid for a period of 60 days, and only in the county in which they were issued, except in the case where the applicants are residents applying in their home county. Active members of the armed forces will be deemed to be residents of the county in which they are stationed.

The original copy of the license and marriage certificate must be returned to the same official who issued it within five days of the solemnized marriage.

Requirements for the Minister

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

Judges, recorders, ordained ministers of recognized denominations and all individuals authorized by the rituals of any religious persuasion may solemnize weddings in the state of North Dakota provided they are at least 18 years old.

Keep in mind that ministers ordained online by the Universal Life Church are considered religious actors, and that their place of residence, stated gender and personal beliefs alone should have no bearing on whether North Dakota deems them legitimate officiants, provided they can produce the necessary documentation, which in this case may vary from county to county.

Wedding Ceremony Requirements

Marriage By Proxy Allowed:
No
Minister Required to be Present:
Yes

Couples getting married in North Dakota are free to plan their ceremony as they see fit, in line with their common spiritual needs, so long as both parties are present and married before an authorized officiant and at least two witnesses. Both will have to formally consent to taking the other as husband or wife at some point in the ceremony, which the minister will then have to pronounce before all present.

Final Steps

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

Once the wedding ceremony is completed, the officiating minister must immediately fill out and sign both copies of the marriage license, providing their official title, the ecclesiastical body with which they are connected (in this case the Universal Life Church), and their home address. The duplicate will be given to the couple, while the original copy of the certificate and license must be returned to the official who issued the license within five days. Any minister who willfully neglects to do so will be fined.