Marriage in Iowa

Planning your wedding should be exciting and fun—you don’t want any unpleasant surprises.  So, you should be careful to check (and double check) every detail before you make any concrete decisions.  Before doing anything, though, you need to find out about the marriage regulations in the State of Iowa.  Knowing these ahead of time can help you in your wedding planning.

Marriage License Requirements

Fortunately, it is actually rather simple to get a marriage license in Iowa.  Neither you nor your intended spouse needs to be a state resident.  Here is all that you will need to bring to get the license:

  • Picture identification for each of you (such as a driver’s license, state identification card, passport, or military identification card)
  • Social security cards for each of you (some counties ask to see the actual cards; others just ask for your social security numbers—call ahead to find out or simply bring the cards to be on the safe side)
  • Information from previous marriages:  the date of the divorce or previous spouse’s death; or, if the marriage ended within the last 60 days, the divorce decree or death certificate will need to be seen
  • One witness:  a person over the age of 18 needs to accompany you when you apply for the marriage license

Applicants who are minors (age 16 or 17) will need to have parental consent before being allowed to apply for a marriage license.

About the Marriage License

Marriage licenses in the State of Iowa are valid for a period of six months.  The cost varies from county to county; however, it is typically around $30.

There is a waiting period for getting married in Iowa.  The waiting period is for three days—three business days, that is.  Many people find this to be bothersome; however, if you are aware of this condition ahead of time you can plan for it and it will not be a problem.

Common Law Marriages

A common law marriage is one in which a man and woman live together as if they are man and wife; however, they have never actually gone through a wedding ceremony and do not have a marriage license.  The couple presents themselves as a married couple in all aspects.  Many states do not recognize this type of marriage as lawful; but, the state of Iowa does—even for the purposes of filing income taxes, property tax exemptions, and other legalities.

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