Marriage License Application

Administration Center - 701 Main Street, St. Joseph
Niles Courthouse - 1205 N. Front Street, Niles

The following is a summary of the marriage laws of Michigan for both residents and non-residents:

1.   Michigan residents must apply in the county of residence of one of the applicants. Non-residents must be married in the county where they make application.

2.   Both applicants must be 18 years of age or older. Exception may be made for applicants 16 and 17 years of age, provided one of his/her parents or legal guardians executes a consent form. (If a legal guardian signs, he must show guardianship papers, and in the case of divorce, the custodial parent must sign the form.) Applicants under 18 years of age should call the office for more detailed information.

3.   Valid identification and social security number are required for both persons making application. Valid identification may consist of a current driver's license or state I.D.   I.D. must show current valid address.

4.   On January 1, 2001, Michigan's Premarital law (Public Act 209 of 2000) went into effect. This law eliminated the requirement for a blood test or premarital counseling of couples applying for a marriage license. Instead, the law requires that couples be provided educational materials regarding prenatal care and the transmission and prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

5.   Once the above requirements have been met, the couple may apply for their license. One applicant may make the application as long as he/she has the necessary information and I.D. for both parties, unless you apply online - then both applicants must appear.

NOTE:  For an Online marriage, BOTH applicants must be present to pick the marriage license up.  Their address on their current I.D. must match what was entered on the application – if it does not, this will cause problems with a possible delay of receiving the license.

6.   There is a THREE DAY WAITING PERIOD. The waiting period consists of three days from the day of application. The license may be picked up at the office where you applied on or after the third day unless that day is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday. In that case, the license may be picked up on the first working day after the weekend or holiday. Be prepared to provide the identification information mentioned above.

7.   The license is valid for 33 days from the first day after the date of application.

8.   The fee is $20.00 for Michigan residents and $30.00 for out-of-state residents. MICHIGAN MARRIAGE LICENSES MUST BE USED IN THE STATE OF MICHIGAN.  All participating witnesses to the ceremony must be 18 years of age or older.

9.   The Administration Center hours are 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.  The Niles Courthouse office hours are 9:00 a.m. - noon, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Marriage applications/licenses will be be processed from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.   Please allow 30 minutes for processing  when you pick up your marriage license.


Who may perform marriages in Michigan is governed by law MCL 551.7.  Marriages may be solemnized by any of the following:

  1. A judge of the District Court, in the district in which the judge is serving.
  2. A District Court magistrate, in the district in which the magistrate serves.
  3. A municipal judge, in the city in which the judge is serving or in a township over which a municipal court has jurisdiction pursuant to section 9928 of the revised judicature act of 1961, 1961 PA 236, MCL 600.9928.
  4. A judge of Probate, in the county or probate court district in which the judge is serving.
  5. A judge of a federal court.
  6. A mayor of a city, anywhere in a county in which that city is located.
  7. The County Clerk in the county in which the clerk serves, or in another county with the written authorization of the clerk of the other county.
  8. For a county having more than 2,000,000 inhabitants, an employee of the county clerk’s office designated by the county clerk, in the county in which the clerk serves.
  9. A minister of the gospel, or cleric or religious practitioner, anywhere in the state, if the minister or cleric or religious practitioner is ordained or authorized to solemnize marriages according to the usages of the denomination.
  10. A minister of the gospel or cleric or religious practitioner, anywhere in the state, if the minister or cleric or religious practitioner is not a resident of this state but is authorized to solemnize marriages under the laws of the state in which the minister or cleric or religious practitioner resides.

A person authorized by this act to solemnize a marriage shall keep proper records and make returns as required by section 4 of 1887 PA 128, MCL 551.104.

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Berrien County Courthouse
811 Port Street, St. Joseph, MI 49085
Berrien County Administration Center
701 Main Street, St. Joseph, MI 49085
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Last Updated 4/22/2016   
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