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Maryland Marriage Laws

In order to marry in Maryland, you must first get a marriage license from the Circuit Court Clerk’s office in the county where the marriage is to take place. In most counties, both the bride and groom must be present to apply for a license, but all marriages must take place in the county where the license was issued and there is a standard two-day waiting period before the license is issued. The license is valid for 6 months from the date of issuance.

It is illegal for marriages to occur between family lineages within 3 degrees of direct family relations. You must be 18-years-old or older to marry legally. If those to be wed are 16 or 17 years-old, they must have parental consent or a signed certificate from a physician stating the woman is pregnant and the date or expected date of delivery. A 15-year-old female may be married if she has parental consent or has a signed physician’s certificate stating she is pregnant and the expected or actual date of delivery. Residents 14-years of age and younger may not marry.

Marriages may be solemnized by an official of a religious body, a clerk of the county or any deputy clerk designated by the judge of the circuit court for the county. The official who performs the marriage shall give one completed marriage certificate to the married party and return one to the clerk who issued the license within five days of the date of marriage.

Maryland does not recognize common law marriages in the state, however will recognize common law marriages that have been validated in other states. Civil marriages are no longer performed in Maryland. Maryland does not allow proxy marriages, however does allow cousin marriages, as long as that cousin is not within 3 degrees of direct lineal relationship. As of 2014, Maryland allows same sex marriages.

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