Our purpose is to issue Marriage Licenses to Hamilton County residents who wish to marry in Ohio, and those out of state residents wishing to marry here in Hamilton County. The Probate Court has also been entrusted to keep and maintain records of said marriages. Our goal is to serve the public in the most helpful and courteous manner possible.
Requirements for Marriage License
The following are the absolute minimum requirements for every applicant (see Checklist for Minors for the added requirements for minor applicants).
Usually both applicants must be present at the time of application unless an appropriate legal exception applies. All marriage licenses are applied for and issued in compliance with federal and state law.
The fee for the license is $75.00. Cash or credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover) are accepted. Checks are not accepted. There is an additional fee when paying with a Credit Card: See Credit Card Fees.
Each applicant must each have a government issued photo ID (i.e., Driver's License, State ID, passport, VISA, etc.).
Ohio residents wanting to marry in Ohio, must apply in the county where they reside. Out of state residents getting married in Ohio, must apply in the county in which they are getting married. Ohio residents getting married in another state or country, must apply in the state or country in which they are getting married.
If either applicant has been married before, then a certified copy of the Decree of Divorce (or Dissolution) must be presented. Note: the copy of the decree presented should have the proper stamps and signatures showing it was in fact entered in the Court, and we do not accept copies of separation agreements or custody papers. Decrees written in a foreign language must be translated into the English language with a certification from the translator that the translation is true and accurate. If either applicant is a widow or widower we do not require a Death Certificate.
The couple must get married within 60 days of our issuing the license. While there is no blood testing or waiting period, the license does expire 60 days after issuance.
The couple must swear, or affirm, that all information and testimony provided is true, correct, and complete.
The couple must sign their full name (including middle name) on the actual Marriage License.
If you are in need of an interpreter, please refer to the following information: Interpretation Services.
For information on obtaining a Marriage License when an individual is incarcerated click here.
ONLINE MARRIAGE APPLICATION
The following online Marriage License request is only intended to shorten the amount of time you have to spend in our office. Once you have completed the online request, you will be asked to submit this to our office for approval. Once we have reviewed and qualified the information we will send you a confirmation number, and any necessary instructions, via E-mail. Applicants will then need to bring this confirmation number, along with all other necessary information, to our office. Once again, both applicants will still need to appear in person.
THE APPLICATION PROCESS
Upon entering our office a couple will fill out an application, gathering information that will appear on the actual Marriage License. When finished, the couple will be called on by one of our clerks, who will then verify that the above requirements have been met. The clerk will then administer the oath, collect the application fee, and complete the license for signing. Before signing the license, it is important that the couple confirm all information is spelled correctly and is completely accurate.
Prior to leaving, the clerk will give the couple two forms for the wedding officiant (be it a Minister, Mayor, or Judge), a "souvenir" Marriage License, and some general information forms. The forms for the officiant are the most important. These two forms are given to the officiant prior to performing the ceremony. One of the forms confirms that we have issued a license for the couple to wed, the other is for the officiant to fill out (confirming that he / she performed the ceremony) and mail back to us. The license is not complete until this form is returned to our office. The souvenir license is strictly decorative and does not have any legal significance. Once we have completed the license, we will make a certified copy and mail it to the couple. This certified copy is the legal proof of marriage needed to change an application's name with Social Security and the Driver's License Bureau. Along with the certified copy we will mail a set of souvenir wallet cards. Like the souvenir license, these cards do not have any legal significance.
For Additional Certified Copies
Sometimes applicants require more than one certified copy proving legal marriage. Find out what the procedure is for obtaining additional copies.
For Additional Souvenir Licenses and Cards
Souvenir licenses and wallet size cards are nice mementos of your wedding. In the event anything happened to your original we can print more.
For Certification of Records ("Never Been Married Before") Forms
This is for couples marrying outside the United States needing evidence that they were never issued a marriage license from Hamilton County, Ohio.
For Information on Who Can Perform Marriage Ceremonies
This section explains who can legally perform a wedding ceremony in the state of Ohio. We also provide information for ministers wishing to be licensed in Ohio so that they too can perform weddings.
After the wedding the original Marriage License remains on file with Probate Court. Starting January 1, 1998, the Marriage License office began an aggressive campaign to image all Marriage Licenses in an effort to provide better and faster accessibility to the public.
A certified copy is merely a photocopy of the original license, certified to be a true and accurate reproduction of the record. This certified copy is considered legal proof of the marriage -- required by most bureaus and agencies. Incidentally, Marriage Licenses are a matter of public record.
Our office automatically mails one certified copy after the license has been completed. The fee for this initial copy is included in the price of a license. Typically, this is the only copy ever needed by most couples. However, circumstances arise which may warrant additional copies.
To Order Additional Certified Copies
Find out how to order certified copies.
Certification of Records ("Never Been Married Before")
Certification that Hamilton County never issued a Marriage License for a particular person. Typically, for someone marrying outside the United States.
Not just anyone can perform a marriage ceremony in the state of Ohio. Marriages are to be performed by an Ordained Minister of any religious society or congregation within the state licensed to perform marriages; the Probate Court Judge or any other Judge appointed as a Probate Judge; a Judge of a Municipal Court; the Mayor of a municipal corporation in any county in which such municipal corporation wholly or partly lies, the Superintendent of the State School for the Deaf; or any religious society, in conformity with the rules and regulations of its church.
Please Note: It is the responsibility of the couple to be sure that the person officiating at the wedding ceremony is licensed in the state of Ohio. A Minister, upon producing to the Secretary of State credentials of his / her being a regularly ordained or licensed Minister of any religious society or congregation, shall be entitled to receive from the Secretary of State a license authorizing him / her to solemnize marriages in this state so long as he / she continues as a regular minister in such society or congregation. A Minister shall produce for inspection their license to solemnize marriages upon demand of any party to a marriage of which he / she proposes to officiate or upon demand of any Probate Court Judge.
To search the Ministers Licensed in Ohio please visit: Ohio Secretary of State.
The following is a list of available civil ceremony officiants for Hamilton County. The Duty Judge of the Hamilton County Municipal Court will conduct civil marriage ceremonies. If you are interested in having the Duty Judge of the Municipal Court perform your ceremony, please call 513-946-5200 or visit:
Please click here to see our hours of operation and court holidays.*
513-946-3590 (24 Hour Recorded Information Line)
*Note: We no longer issue licenses, or conduct transactions, after 3:45 PM.
Hamilton County Probate Court, Ralph Winkler, Judge
230 E. Ninth St., 10th Floor
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-2145