WHERE TO APPLY: (1) Wisconsin residents must apply before the County Clerk of the county in which one or both have resided at least 30 days prior to the date of application. A marriage may be performed in any county in Wisconsin. (2) Wisconsin residents who have not resided in a county for 30 days shall be treated like an "out of state" resident and apply in the county in which they are getting married. (3) If both applicants are out-of-state residents, the license must be issued in the county where the ceremony will be performed.
WAITING PERIOD: Applications must be made at least 5 FULL DAYS before a license is issued. The 5 day waiting period begins after the date of application and ends on the 5th day. The license may be issued the following day. Keep in mind that we do not issue licenses on weekends or holidays, so plan to allow a full 7 days between the application date and wedding date. The ceremony may take place on the date the license is issued or any time within 30 days thereafter. The 5 day waiting period may be waived for an additional fee. However, the waiver is only granted for a good cause that is approved by the County Clerk. This waiver MUST be requested NO LATER than 5 FULL days in advance of the marriage date. If you believe you may qualify for a waiver, call our office as soon as possible.
BIRTH CERTIFICATES: Certified birth certificates are required for ALL applicants. A certified birth certificate must bear the official embossed seal, and a signature of the state registrar, register of deeds, or city health officer. The seal of a notary public does not suffice for a certified copy of a vital record. The souvenir birth document given by a hospital is NOT a legal document and is unacceptable. Be prepared to provide accurate and complete full names of parents. If an applicant is not a U.S. citizen, a current and valid passport is required. If the passport has expired, then the applicant will need to apply for an extension. Also, if the non-U.S. citizen applicant does not have a certified birth certificate, the passport will be sufficient. Or, if the applicant's birth certificate is not in English, they are responsible for having it translated into English and notarized by a third party; the applicant cannot translate it them self.
PHOTO ID: Current (un-expired) government-issued drivers' license or ID.
PHYSICAL EXAMINATIONS AND/OR BLOOD TESTS: Not required.
AGE REQUIREMENTS: Persons under the age of 16 may not marry. Persons age 16 and age 17 are required to provide both parent's or legal guardian's notarized written consent to marry. The consent forms are available in the County Clerk's Office and must be signed by both parents or guardians in front of a notary public or the County Clerk.
FINAL DIVORCE DECREE: It is not lawful for any person, who is or has been a party to an action for divorce in any court in this state, or elsewhere, to marry again until 6 months after judgment of divorce is granted. You will be required to present the final Judgment of Divorce (with the Judge's or Court Commissioner's signature and final divorce date on such papers), from the last previous marriage when application is made.
DEATH CERTIFICATES: A signed death certificate must be presented to the County Clerk if your last previous marriage was terminated by death.
COURT ANNULMENT: A certified copy of annulment certificate or court annulment decree must be presented to the County Clerk if your last previous marriage was terminated by annulment.
PROOF OF RESIDENCE: A current driver's license with a current address is the best proof. If this is not available, each applicant must provide 2 proofs, such as a checkbook, utility bill, income tax record, payroll record, military papers, student record, medical and/or dental bills. If, on the day you apply for a license, you have not resided at your current address for 30 days, be prepared to prove your previous address. Your "residence", for marriage license purposes, is where you have physically lived for the past 30 days. Wisconsin residents who have not resided in a county for 30 days shall be treated like an "out of state" resident and apply in the county in which they are getting married.
LOCATION AND DATE OF MARRIAGE: Applicants should be prepared to provide the date of the marriage, and the correct spelling of the officiant's name, business address, and phone number. The applicants should also know the municipality (city, village or township) and the county in which the ceremony will take place.
SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS: Applicants must provide their social security numbers if one has been assigned to them.
TRANSLATOR: If one of the marriage applicants does not understand or speak English, you need to provide a certified translator who is not a relative or friend to translate when applying.
MARRIAGE LICENSE FEE: The license fee is $75.00. If a waiver to the 5-day waiting period is granted, there will be an additional $25.00 fee. You must apply for a waiver in advance. These fees are payable in CASH or CREDIT/DEBIT cards on the day you come to apply for the license. (We do not accept checks.) As of January 1, 2020 the marriage license fee will be increasing to $85.00. The waiver will remain $25.00.
HOURS: Marriage license applications are taken in the County Clerk's Office, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Both applicants must apply in person at the same time.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION OR QUESTIONS CONTACT:
Columbia County Clerk's Office
112 East Edgewater Street
Portage, WI 53901