You asked: What are the marriage laws in Mississippi?

Published 2:03 pm Friday, October 16, 2020

Q: What are the marriage laws in Mississippi?

A: Mississippi’s marriage laws have changed somewhat over the past several years.

Who can get married?

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Both parties must be at least 21 years old, or age 17 for males and age 15 for females, with parental and/or judicial permission.

Marriages are legal between opposite-sex couples or, since 2015, same-sex couples in Mississippi.

Bigamous and incestuous marriages are not legal — between ancestor and descendant, brother and sister, uncle and niece, first cousins by blood, or daughter/son-in-law to mother/father-in-law.

What is required to get married?

Both parties desiring to be married must obtain a marriage license by applying in-person at a local county circuit clerk’s office. Applicants do not have to be a resident of the county where the application is obtained, nor do they have to be Mississippi residents. But a Mississippi license is required in order to be married in the state.

Photo ID and proof of age are required to obtain the license. No waiting period is required and since 2012 a blood test is no longer needed, meaning — in theory — that a license could be obtained the same day the wedding is to be performed. However, it is a good idea to plan ahead in order to assure the circuit clerk’s office will be open when the parties involved go to obtain a license. Licenses have a one-time fee of $21, and do not expire.

The following information is required on the marriage license application:

• Full names and addresses

• Names and address of parents of both parties, including mother’s maiden name

• Age, date of birth, location of birth

• Proof of age — driver license, birth certificate, school record, etc.

• Highest grade completed in school

• Number of previous marriages, if any, date the last marriage ended and how the last marriage ended. If the last marriage ended by divorce within the previous six months, proof of divorce is required.

A license will not be issued if it appears to the clerk that one or both applicants are intoxicated or have a mental illness to the extent that the clerk believes he or she does not understand the nature and consequences of the request.

Getting a marriage license also does not mean a person’s last name changes automatically. If an applicant needs to change their last name, an official marriage license from the circuit clerk’s office will need to be used to apply for a new Social Security card. Once the new Social Security card is received, a new driver license or photo ID must be obtained from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

In order to be officially married once a valid marriage license is obtained, the couple must have a ceremony that is performed by a person, religious society, institution or organization authorized to perform marriage ceremonies in the state. Qualified persons are ministers or other spiritual leaders in good standing ordained or authorized by their church or society to perform such ceremonies; or a judge of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, circuit court, chancery court or county court.

Information provided by the Mississippi State Department of Health, and