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Michigan Court Records

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Michigan Marriage Records

Michigan marriage records provide key information about marriages in the state. They document legal unions that have occured in the state and the details linked to each event. Some of the information that may be contained in a Michigan marriage record includes:

  • Names of both spouses (first, middle, and last)
  • Name of the marriage officiant
  • Date of the marriage
  • Marriage location
  • Full name of parents
  • Names of witnesses present.

Marriage records are necessary for a variety of reasons. Couples often need a copy of the record when collecting a pension, disability, or social security benefits. Certified copies of a record may also be needed for adoption or passport applications.

What Types of Marriage Records are available in Michigan

Marriage licenses, marriage verification, and marriage certificates are some of the common types of records available in Michigan. However, although they're sometimes used interchangeably, certificates and licenses are different. Each can be obtained for different reasons. 

Marriage Certificate

Marriage certificates are legal documents that prove a couple is married. Such records are maintained by the state Vital Statistics Department or the county clerk in the county where the marriage license was obtained. To obtain certified copies of a marriage certificate, requesters must submit a completed application form containing the following information:

  • Name of spouses (first, middle, and last)
  • Parents names (first, middle, and last)
  • Location of marriage (city, county)
  • The location where the marriage license was obtained (city, county)
  • Purpose of request

Marriage License:

A Michigan Marriage license is a legal document that authorizes couples to marry.  Licenses are typically maintained and issued by the County Clerk. To obtain a Michigan license, applicants must meet several requirements, some of which include the following:

  • Applicants must be at least 18 years old
  • Applications must be made in the county of residence of at least one spouse
  • Non-residents who apply must marry in the county where the license is issued

In addition, applicants must provide their social security number and a valid copy of a government-issued ID with their address. Once issued, licenses have a three-day waiting period before becoming effective. Licenses remain valid for 33 days, after which they expire. Couples who do not marry within this period must reapply for a new license.

Are Michigan Marriage Records Public?

Michigan marriage records are generally public, except where restricted by law. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has maintained marriages filed in the state since 1867.  Anyone can request certified copies of a marriage record by submitting an application in writing and paying the required search fee. Details of issued licenses are recorded in the counties where the applicants lived at the time of their marriage. Records may be ordered online, by mail, by phone, or in person.

Note: Certified copies of a marriage record are printed on security paper with a raised embossed seal.  

How to Find Marriage Records in Michigan

To obtain a marriage record, you'll need to identify the type of record first. General records can be obtained from the state Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics. The division maintains marriage records from 1867 to the present. It also processes requests for exemplified marriage records, no marriage searches, and marriage verifications. Detailed information on marriage licenses issued in the state can be obtained from the County clerk in the county where it was issued.

To request or obtain certified copies of a marriage record from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, applicants must submit a completed request form that includes the following details:

  • The names of both spouses (first, middle, and last)
  • The names of both parents in full (first, middle, and last)
  • Location of  the marriage (city, county, and state)
  • Purpose of the request.

Requests can be submitted via phone or made online. Online requests incur an additional $14.00 fee. Applicants can also submit requests via mail to the:

Vital Records Requests, 

P.O. Box 30721, 

Lansing MI 48909

A base $34.00 fee is charged if applicants provide the exact year when the marriage occured. However, an additional $12.00 is charged for each extra year searched if the year is not identified. Requesters who wish to obtain multiple copies must also pay $16.00 for each additional copy.

How to Get a Marriage License in Michigan

A marriage license gives intending couples the right to marry anywhere within Michigan. Once issued, the license becomes valid for 33 days, during which the couple must marry in a ceremony. While the application process varies slightly in each county, most residents can obtain a license by following several general steps.

Step 1. Meet the State Requirements

In order to get a license, intending spouses must meet the state eligibility requirements. These include:

  • Age Requirements: Applicants must be at least 18 to apply for a license.
  • Residency Requirements: Applicants who wish to marry must obtain a license from the county clerk of the county in which one party resides, per Michigan state law (MCL 551.101, 104, 106)

Step 2. Collect Required Documentation

For proof of residency, applicants must provide documentation showing their correct address. Acceptable options include passports, driver's licenses, or state IDs. Applicants who are non-US citizens with no state-issued ID must provide a valid foreign passport and appear in person. Both applicants must also provide social security numbers. Applicants who do not have a social security number must sign an affidavit stating why (e.g., foreigner, work visa, student visa).

Step 3. Fill out the Application

Marriage applications must be submitted and completed by both parties. Some of the information that is required during the license application includes:

  • Anticipated date of marriage
  • Residency status (resident or from out of state)
  • Applicant's full name (first, middle, last)
  • Applicant's gender
  • Surname at birth
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Birthplace city and birthplace state
  • Details of any previous marriages
  • Parent names in full

Step 4. Submit and Pay the Fee

Completed applications must be filed with the local county clerk. Some counties only provide walk-in applications at the office during business hours, while others provide online application options. Non-residents who wish to marry in the state must apply in the county where the marriage ceremony will occur. However, residents may use the marriage license in any other country within Michigan.  Marriage licenses cost $20 for residents and $30 for out-of-state residents. 

Who can obtain Marriage Records in Michigan?

Almost anyone can obtain marriage records in Michigan. Under Michigan law, marriage records are public documents, which makes them generally accessible. However, some records may be inaccessible. For instance, records of marriages performed by a probate judge when one or both are younger than 18  may be confidential. Access to such records would only be granted to both parties. Beyond such exemptions, record seekers can request a search by submitting a completed and signed application form along with the required fee.  

Can You Lookup Online Marriage Records For Free in Michigan

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services provides an online option for searching records, but record seekers will need to pay a nominal fee. Depending on when the record was created, members of the public may be able to look at online marriage records for free in Michigan using third-party platforms or search indexes. These platforms contain public data compiled from different locations within and beyond Michigan, making it easy and convenient to locate records. However,  the accuracy and amount of information available may vary with other subjects. Detailed copies of records may also come with fee payments. 

Is Michigan a Common Law State for Marriage?

Michigan is not a common-law marriage state. Common law marriages are an informal type of marriage where couples do not need a marriage license to be considered married. However, under Michigan law, intending couples must obtain a license and solemnize the union before at least two witnesses to be considered legally married.

Couples wishing to live together without getting married may opt to enter into civil or registered partnerships. Domestic partnerships are recognized in several cities and counties, including Ann Arbor,  Detroit, East Lansing, Ingham County, Kalamazoo, Washtenaw County, and Wayne County. However, this type of union does not provide the same rights as a married couple.

Note: Michigan recognizes the validity of common law marriages established in other states, even after the couple relocates to Michigan.

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