Wyoming marriage license applications are available at every county clerk office. The licensing officer is the county clerk. Occasionally, the clerk's deputy or assistant is authorized to issue licenses as well.
A list of the state's 23 counties containing clerk offices can be found at the tail end of this document.
What is marriage?
As far as Wyoming is concerned, marriage is considered a civil contract. Both parties to the marriage must enter it willingly and without coercion. Consent of both participants is crucial for the marriage to be considered valid.
A marriage license is a prerequisite to getting married. Any marriage ceremony performed without a marriage license is invalid and will be voided by the state.
Believe it or not, in addition to both parties to the marriage coming into the office to apply, you must bring along a third person to serve as a witness. Your witness, who must be competent, will have one duty and that is to provide testimony that he or she knows of no legal impediment to you getting married.
No known impediments
What's all this about? Well, think about what could constitute an impediment to your marriage. This can include either applicant already being married or not yet divorced, an underage applicant lying about his or her age, or perhaps they're first cousins or siblings pretending to be otherwise.
Although a witness could easily enter false testimony, all three parties to the application would have to sign the application and take an oath swearing that they have told the truth.
County clerks aren't detectives whose job it is to invasively verify every detail of your application. Having a witness vouch for the authenticity of your claims is one way for the county clerk office to reasonably assert they did their due diligence prior to issuing your license.
The cost of a Wyoming marriage license is $30. This fee is standardized across county clerk offices. Payments are nonrefundable.
Questions about you
When applying for a marriage license, you'll have to tell a lot about yourself, such as your name, maiden name, gender, address, mailing address (if different from your primary address), phone number, date of birth, place of birth, prior marriage history, race (optional), highest education level completed (optional), and social security number (if available).
Questions about your parents
Information about your parents will also be asked, such as their names, birth names (if different than current), and places of birth. If you don't know any or all of your parents' information, it won't prevent you from obtaining a marriage license.
Social security number
This is probably considered the most sensitive portion of the marriage license application. You may be aware that submitted applications and subsequent marriage certificates eventually become public records. Sure, only authorized parties to the marriage and family members are allowed to order it, but there's no real firewall to protect against forged requests.
It's understandable for applicants to wince at the prospect of having to write down their social security numbers and opening themselves up to becoming targets of identity thieves. Rest assured this isn't as scary a thought as you may think.
The social security number is the only part of the marriage license application that's not recorded in the county clerk office's internal records. That number is passed directly onto the state's vital records office where it will never be part of the county's public record.
Much of this misunderstanding stems from confusing the marriage license application with the marriage license, which is discussed next.
Application vs. License
The marriage license application is often confused with the marriage license, which is one of the reasons why many applicants shudder at the thought of so much personally identifiable information being asked on the form. They're not the same document.
The marriage license application is just a form that's passed onto the clerk so that he or she can use the information you've provided to create a separate marriage license document. The information you provide is entered into a book securely held within the county clerk's office.
The marriage license itself is a pretty barebones document that'll include your names, date of issuance, date of expiration, and instructions for your officiant.
There are no residency requirements. You can apply in any county and marry in any county; of course, the marriage must take place somewhere in Wyoming. Non-U.S. citizens are welcome to apply and marry in Wyoming as well.
Bring at least one form identification with you, such as a driver's license, state-issued ID card, military ID card, or passport.
It's common knowledge in the U.S. that the minimum age to marry without parental consent is 18 years; Wyoming is no different.
You must be at 18 years old or older to marry in Wyoming without having to obtain the consent of a parent or guardian. Anyone below the age of 18 is considered a minor and will need to obtain consent.
To keep things simple, let's agree that when the word parent is mentioned it widely represents parent, guardian, or whoever is responsible for caring for the minor.
In the upcoming consent to marry section, we'll demystify the ins and outs of what it takes to obtain consent, how it must be carried out, and when a judge needs to intervene.
Consent to marry
Anyone below the age of 18 needs to get parental consent to marry. Fifteen year olds and younger will also need to get a judge to approve it. We'll cover the judge part later. For now, let's get the consent portion cleared up.
Consent can be given verbally or in writing. If done verbally it must be expressed face-to-face with the county clerk when the application is being made. This means the parent can't give consent over the phone. It also means the parent can't give consent on a Monday when the child is applying on a Tuesday.
If the parent doesn't want to give consent verbally, it can be done in writing. County clerk offices typically have blank consent forms that can be picked up to spare a parent the hassle and misery of (incorrectly) composing the letter themselves. It basically comes in the form of an affidavit where the parent swears they're giving consent.
Consent forms need to include a witness who confirms that consent has been granted. The minor can't be the witness.
Consent forms must be notarized, otherwise the minor can forge it and no one would be the wiser. The notary public can serve as the witness, which knocks out two birds with one stone. If the notary refuses to be a witness, the parent has to produce one.
Composing a consent form
If your county clerk office doesn't have a handy stack of consent forms available or you just want to compose one yourself, here's what you need to include: the date, parent's name, minor's name, relationship to the minor, statement expressing consent, witness' name, and date the witness witnessed the consent being granted. Get that document notarized.
For minors below the age of 16, getting consent is just part one of a two part process. Now it's time to get a judge to issue a written statement ordering a county clerk to issue a marriage license.
The parent or guardian of the minor must seek relief through the courts on the minor's behalf. It can be any judge of a court of record, as long as it's in the same county as the minor's residence. This bears repeating: go to a judge whose jurisdiction is in the county where the minor lives, which may not necessarily be the same county where the marriage license application is going to be applied in.
If finding a proper court or judge is too difficult a task, ask a county clerk to point you in the right direction.
Once in the presence of the judge, all parties to the marriage can make their case. Getting a court order approved isn't guaranteed. A judge will only grant a court order if he or she finds it to be in the best interest of the minor to marry.
Before a judge can hand down a decision, affidavits, proof that the parties involved are competent, and other documentary evidence may be required.
Once the court order is in hand, it can be used at any county clerk office.
If the clerk sees no impediment to you getting married, you'll be issued a marriage license without delay. You can then marry whenever you choose.
Your issued marriage license will expire one year after it's been issued. The date of issuance and expiration will be shown on your license. If a year goes by and you haven't married, the license is no longer usable and you'll have to reapply.
It's not possible to obtain a common-law marriage in Wyoming.
Wyoming does provide limited recognition for common-law marriages established in another state as long as that state still recognizes common-law marriage. The limited recognition solely applies to receiving benefits related to worker's compensation laws.
Getting a blood test is no longer a required condition to getting a marriage license in Wyoming.
Repealed in 1985
The blood test requirement was in effect from 1921 until it was repealed in 1985. During that period, applicants were required to present a certificate from a physician confirming the results of a blood test. For women, Rubella and Rh factor tests were performed.
Wyoming has established standards for who can and cannot solemnize marriages. It basically comes down to judges and clergy.
The judicial officials authorized to solemnize are district court judges, circuit court judges, Supreme Court justices, magistrates, and district court commissioners. Any of these judge types can be residents or non-residents of Wyoming, active or retired.
We'll start off with religious officials who have been specifically cited within Wyoming statutes: licensed and ordained ministers of the gospel, priests, bishops, and rabbis.
If the title of your religion's official wasn't mentioned, don't fret; Wyoming doesn't have an exclusionary or discriminatory policy of banning religious persons or organizations from being able to carry out solemnizations.
The fact is any authorized person associated with any religious organization, denomination, or society is permitted to solemnize marriages however they see fit. Such officials can even preside over a marriage in a nonsecular fashion. Procedures, rites, and practices aren't regulated by the state.
When you're exchanging vows, your marriage is in the act of being solemnized. The person who's tasked with performing the solemnization is referred to as the officiant.
You must have two witnesses attend your marriage ceremony, not counting the officiant. Just as you're required to present a competent witness when applying, your two ceremony witnesses must also be competent.
To be a competent witness means one understands the seriousness of what's transpiring. While there's no minimum age for what constitutes a competent witness, it's the job of whoever solemnizes to make sure your witnesses are up to snuff; it's your job too.
If an officiant believes your witnesses to be incompetent, he or she cannot go through with the marriage.
The bottom line is to use common sense when choosing witnesses. This means not bringing a 3 year old or mentally incapacitated person to the proceeding and expecting the officiant to sign off on them being witnesses.
There should be two certificates of marriage attached to the marriage license. The officiant must fill both in with the following information:
- Name of the officiant
- Ceremony date and time
- Place where the ceremony took place
- Name and residence of each spouse
- Name and residence of each witness
- Obtain the signature of each witness
One certificate goes to the couple, the other forwarded to the county clerk office that issued the marriage license within 10 days after the marriage ceremony. Once there, it will be recorded.
Your marriage certificate constitutes proof of marriage. This document will allow you to change your name after marriage, if you so choose. Once your marriage is recorded, you can order additional certified copies.
The officiant must return one out of the two certificates of marriage to the county clerk that issued the marriage certificate within 10 days after the date of solemnization.
Once the county clerk receives the certificate, the information therein will be logged in a book established for such purposes. The certificate will be kept on premises and a copy forwarded to the state Registrar of Vital Statistics.
Your officiant will give you one of the two original marriage certificates moments after your ceremony concludes. If you require additional copies, they can be ordered for $5 from the county clerk office or for $8 direct from the Registrar of Vital Statistics.
Changing your name
If you're intent on changing your name as a result of marriage, a certified copy of your marriage certificate will serve as the authorizing document to be presented to the Social Security Administration, DMV, and similar institutions.
Although this page is primarily focused on getting married in Wyoming, let's spend a few moments discussing what happens when Wyoming residents get married out-of-state.
Any marriage that takes place beyond the borders of Wyoming will be considered valid in this state as long as the marriage laws of that locale don't conflict with the marriage laws of this state.
You will not be required to register or record your non-Wyoming marriage in this state.
So you've gone to the county clerk's office, filled out your paperwork, brought your witness, and everyone swears everything is on the up-and-up, but the clerk just doesn't believe you. Or perhaps the clerk is attempting to obstruct your marriage for no good reason. How about a less nefarious motive: the clerk wants to issue you a license, but it requires a waiver be granted by someone who's above their pay grade.
If you've reached such a point, you can get help from the courts.
Going to court
If your marriage license application is rejected, you'll have to apply to the district court of the same county and request a judge order a marriage license be issued. There's no fee to go to court.
You'll have to provide a good reason and evidence to support your position.
If a judge agrees the license should be issued, he or she will compose a written statement to that effect. Take that statement to the clerk to get your license.
You should now have a thorough understanding of what it takes to get married in Wyoming. Not just applying for a marriage license, but what occurs during the marriage ceremony and afterward.
As mentioned at the beginning of this document, marriage licenses are issued at the county clerk office. Every county has one, and only one, such office.
Below you'll find a listing that leads to every Wyoming county clerk office providing extended contact information, hours of operations, and directions. Good luck on your marriage journey.