How long does it take to get a marriage license in Wisconsin?
Getting Married in Wisconsin
Congratulations on choosing to get married in the state of Wisconsin. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, you'll be one of approximately 33,000 other couples tying the knot this year. While the process for obtaining a marriage license is a simple one, there is a mandatory waiting period that must be observed upon filing your initial application with the county clerk.
Applying for a Marriage License in WI
To get a better sense of how to properly apply for and receive a marriage license in the state, let's look at a real world example.
Oak Creek residents, John and Kathy have been carefully planning their wedding for the past 10 months, each detail accounted. With the “big day” just 20 days away, the pair is now ready to check off, the single most important item on their list: the marriage license.
At this point, you might be wondering, “why would a couple committed to meticulously planning such an important event wait until the last minute to apply for something as important as the marriage license?” The simple answer is they haven't. Anyone who knows them will tell you that neither John or (especially) Kathy are anything but procrastinators, in fact, they're right on time.
With just over two weeks before their wedding day, John and Kathy set out to file the paperwork to make their marriage legal.
Applicants must apply for marriage with the County Clerk's office in the county where at least one of partners is a resident. Since our couple live in Oak Creek, they are residents of Milwaukee County, so their journey begins at the County Clerk's office is located in the Milwaukee County Courthouse in Room 105, 901 North Ninth Street, Milwaukee.
The marriage license application must be completed at least 7 days before the date of the wedding, but not more than 30 days beforehand.
Katy and John must apply together and they will need to provide the Clerk's office with the following:
- Social Security numbers
- Birth certificate
- The date of the wedding
- Marriage license fee ($110-$120 which varies per county, no personal checks, 3% credit/debit fee)
- Valid photo I.D. (Driver's license, State I.D., Military I.D., etc…)
- Proof of residency (Wisconsin Driver's License or State I.D., Utility bill, Bank or credit card statement, lease agreement)
- The wedding officiant's name, address, and telephone number
- If either were married in the past and have had a divorce or an annulment, they will need to provide a filed copy of the final judgment of divorce, a certified divorce certificate, legal annulment, or certified death certificate that ended the previous marriage.
- In Wisconsin, the courts require anyone granted a divorce must wait 6 months after the date of the granting of a judgment of divorce, regardless of where the divorce was granted, before a new marriage certificate will be granted.
- Any document not in English must be attached to a certified and notarized translation. Both applicants must speak and be able to read English. Applicants may not translate for each other, additionally, the applicant's will be responsible for providing the a translator.
When your WI marriage certificate be ready to pick up?
John and Kathy will be able to pick up their official marriage license after 7 days from the date of the application. The document will be available in Office of the County Clerk where the application was originally submitted. Either of the applicants can pick up the license, as long as they present valid photo identification.
With the marriage certificate in hand, our happy couple are ready to embark on their new life together.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How do you get a marriage license in Wisconsin?
To get your marriage license, you and your future spouse go to your local county clerk’s office. You must go not more than 30 days before but at least 6 days before. Some counties have slightly different rules, but you should be good if you go at least a week before your wedding date.
You each need a government-issued ID and birth certificates. There is a charge for the marriage license usually around $100 but the exact amount depends on the county.
How long does it take to get a marriage license in WI?
How long it takes to get your marriage license depends on which county you are in. Different counties have different minimum waiting periods. For example, Dane County has a three-day waiting period, Brown County has a four-day waiting period, and Milwaukee has a six-day waiting period.
How much does it cost to get married in Wisconsin?
How much it costs to get married varies widely depending on what you all include. For just the marriage license, the cost varies depending on the county. For example, it costs $110 in Milwaukee County, but it costs $125 in Brown County.
Do you need a marriage license to get married in Wisconsin?
To get legally married in Wisconsin, you do need a marriage license. That is part of the legal process of marriage.
How can I get married without a ceremony?
You do not need a ceremony to get married. In Wisconsin you don’t even need an officiant to get married. You can get married just with witnesses and the proper paperwork.