In Oklahoma, marriage is civil contract that must be entered into freely by you and your prospective spouse. You must obtain a marriage license before entering into such a marriage contract.
Where to apply?
Go to the court clerk's office within the district court to apply for your license. If your district court has no court clerk's office, then you'll apply directly at the district court. You can apply in any county, and then use your license anywhere in the state.
You'll either be issued a license by a district court judge or the court clerk—it doesn't matter which.
Once your marriage license is issued, you'll notice a section applied or attached referred to as your marriage certificate, or certificate of marriage. This blank section is meant to be filled out by whoever presides over your marriage, so when you hear the phrase "license and certificate" it's referring to this unified document.
There are no residency requirements to fulfill when applying for a marriage license. The application process and fees are the same for state residents and foreigners.
Although marriage license applications aren't uniform throughout the state, the questions are, for the most part, predictable. The overall application is very concise.
At a minimum, you will be expected to specify your full legal name; the name you intend to take after marriage; age; place of residence, including county; social security number, if you have one; and if you took a premarital preparation course.
Identification is used to verify your age and identity. Documents that would satisfy this requirement would include a certified copy of your birth certificate, driver's license, passport, visa, or any other document government-issued ID.
If you intend to present a birth certificate that's not written in English, you may be asked to have it translated.
An Oklahoma marriage license costs $25 statewide. You can get it for $5 if you're willing to undergo a premarital counseling.
If you and your prospective spouse are willing to complete a minimum of four hours of premarital counseling, it will reduce your marriage license fee from $25 to $5.
Counseling courses may be taught by licensed psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, professional counselors, and marital and family therapists. An authorized representative, or their designee, of a religious institution or organization is also permitted to also teach.
Certificate of completion
When you've completed the course, your provider will provide you a signed certificate of completion. It'll contain your names and a statement that you completed at least four hours of premarital instruction. Present the certificate to the licensing authority to get your discount.
18 years old and over
If you're 18 years old or older, you can get married without obtaining consent from a parent or guardian.
16 and 17 years old
If you're either 16 or 17 years old, then you must obtain the consent of at least one parent or guardian to marry.
15 years old or under
If you're 15 years old or younger, you can only marry by getting permission from a district court judge.
Method of consent
Consent can be granted in person or in writing.
In person, together
If your parent or guardian can accompany you to the making of the application, that would be the most efficient way to satisfy the consent requirements. Consent can be granted face-to-face with the person issuing you your license.
In person, separate
If your parent or guardian is unable to go with you when you're ready to apply, but their schedule is free to go in earlier, let them. Have them visit the district court judge or court clerk to preemptively express their consent in writing.
They'll be given an authenticated document validating their consent, which can be given to you. Bring that document in when you apply, and it'll be just as legitimate as if they were there standing by your side.
If your parent or guardian doesn't live in Oklahoma, then giving in person consent may not be feasible. There is a clean workaround for this. Have them put their consent in writing before a judge or court clerk in their state, and have that official certify it.
You can either pick up the written consent statement or have it mailed to you. Bring it in with you when you go in to apply.
If your parent or guardian would like to grant consent, but they'll too sick, infirm, or incapacitated to do it in person, then have a licensed physician attest to that on a medical certificate. Supplement that with a written statement granting consent. Bring in both documents, and then you're good to go fulfilling the consent requirement.
If your parent or guardian is on active duty, have them put their consent in writing and get their commanding officer to attest to their military status in a certified statement. Bring those documents with you when you apply, to satisfy the consent requirement.
Dead, missing, or incompetent
If you have no guardian and it's impossible for you to get parental consent because your parents are dead, missing, or mentally incompetent, then you can fulfill the consent requirement by getting three witnesses attest to these facts in an affidavit.
In this case, the district court judge (not the court clerk) will have to decide, in his or her discretion, if you'll be issued a license to marry.
If you're in the custody of Department of Human Services or the Department of Juvenile Justice, then your parent's or guardian's consent will not be accepted.
If you're below the age of 16, then getting authorization to marry from the district court is the only way to be issued a marriage license. If you're pregnant or have given birth to a child, that'll add weight to your case, but it's not a guarantee the judge will find it in your best interest to marry.
The judge may want to hear from your parent or guardian, so if they're not there with you the hearing may be rescheduled so that they may be contacted and given time to appear in court.
If your parent or guardian objects to you marrying, the judge will take that into account; it wouldn't necessarily be the death knell, but it certainly wouldn't help your cause if they were to provide compelling testimony and evidence for why you're not prepared or mentally capable of taking on the rigors of marriage.
There may be a waiting period, depending on your age.
If you're 18 years old or older, there's no waiting period; your license will be issued immediately and can be used right away.
If you're below the age of 18, there's a 72-hour wait between the time you apply for your license and when you'll physically receive it. This means you'll have to make a trip to apply for your license and another to pick it up.
Weekend dead zones
Virtually every court clerk's office closes weekends, so if you're applying late in the week, you're setting yourself up for a longer than expected wait. If you submit an application on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, you'll almost certainly be looking at Monday as the earliest pickup day.
Hours not days
Keep in mind, the delay is strictly 72 hours, not loosely 3 days. So if you apply on Monday at 4pm your license won't be issued until Thursday at 4pm.
Once you've been issued your license, you have 10 days to use it. This is a considerably short amount of time, as most other states will give you at least a month to carry out your ceremony. If you run out of time, then you'll have to reapply and repay the fee, as extensions and refunds will not be granted.
Oklahoma no longer requires you to undergo a blood test prior to obtaining a marriage license. That requirement, which was established to test for communicable or infectious diseases, was repealed in 2004 with an effective date of January 1, 2005.
You must present a certified copy of your divorce decree to prove if and when your prior marriage was dissolved. You also cannot marry if you've been divorced within the past six months; however, you can remarry the spouse you divorced. This remarriage delay often catches divorcees off guard. It is an unusual provision that most states do not employ.
If your last marriage ended due to the death of your spouse, you should be prepared to present a certified copy of the death certificate.
In Oklahoma, you're prohibited from marrying certain relatives. Ancestors and descendants are off limits, no matter how many degrees of separation exist. Marriage that takes between any of the following family members is considered incestuous and will be null and void:
- Sibling (half or whole blood)
- First cousin (see loophole)
First cousin loophole
Although you can't marry your first cousin in this state, if you marry them in another state that recognizes it, it will also be recognized in Oklahoma.
This is a loophole that most states expressly close off, but Oklahoma expressly permits in.
Before your marriage can be solemnized, you must present your license and certificate to your officiant.
The person who solemnizes your marriage is called the officiant. There are two types of officiants: judicial and religious.
Your marriage can be solemnized by a judge of this state, active or retired, of any court.
Religious figures who may solemnize include ordained preachers or ministers of the Gospel, priests, rabbis, or really any authorized figure of any religious denomination. Such officiants must be at least 18 years old.
Religious officiants must have their solemnization credentials filed in the court clerk's office of the county where they reside. If the officiant is from out-of-state, they must still file their credentials in the county where they plan to perform the solemnization.
Officiants who are residents or nonresidents are free to carry out solemnizations throughout the state as soon as their credentials have been recorded. By the way, recording is free.
You must have two competent adult witnesses attend your entire ceremony. Competent means they understand what they're witnessing and can later provide a detailed recollection of the ceremony, if the veracity of your marriage is ever called into question.
Once your ceremony has concluded, the business of endorsing your license must begin. Endorsement entails filling out the certificate portion of your marriage license. This is a group effort involving the officiant, you and your spouse, and both witnesses.
Whoever solemnized must enter their name, title, and signature. If they were authorized to solemnize on behalf of a religious organization, they must enter that organization's location (city or town and county). If solemnized by a judge, the court's location (city or town and county) must be supplied.
Next, you and your spouse must sign the certificate. Sign it as the name you chose to take after marriage when you originally applied for your license.
Finally, your witnesses must print their names (not signatures) and postal addresses on the certificate.
Returning the license
Once the endorsements have completed, the officiant must return the completed license and certificate to the person who issued it no later than five days after the ceremony took place.
Failure to carry out this duty in time, due to willful neglect, would be a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine of up to $100, upon conviction.
Refusal to solemnize
State law insulates any religious organization, or person associated with that organization, from civil or criminal causes of action for refusing to solemnize a marriage. This "religious freedom" protection extends to refusal to provide services, goods, or facilities related to any kind of marriage celebration.
If your marriage is solemnized by someone who had no authority to do so, it would not invalidate your marriage as long as either you or your spouse believed the marriage was legitimately solemnized by an authorized official.
Once your completed license and certificate has been returned to the person who issued your license, it will be recorded. Recording involves the indexing and creation of a complete record of your application, license, and certificate. It's typically recorded on microfilm, microfiche, or an optical disc (e.g., CD, DVD).
Marriage record returned
Once your original license and certificate has been recorded, it will be returned to you. Affixed will be the date of recording, licensing officer's signature, and the index marker where the copy is stored in office.
This original document is your original marriage record, which is just as good as a certified copy. You can also refer to it as your marriage certificate. This document can be used to change your name in lieu of using a certified copy.
Oklahoma doesn't allow you to marry by proxy. For those not in the know, a proxy marriage is when one of the parties to the marriage can't attend the ceremony, so someone is appointed to take their place; this person serves as the stand-in, or proxy. This is often employed for inmates or deployed members of the military.