Whether you are planning to elope or to hold your marriage ceremony among friends, having a justice of the peace perform your marriage ceremony may be right for your wedding. Justices of the peace in Ohio may perform marriages throughout the state, making them an option regardless of where you wed. If you are a resident of Ohio, apply for a marriage license in the county in which you live. However, if you are from out of state, apply in the county where you intend to marry. Cincinnati is the county seat of Hamilton County.
Things You'll Need
- Government-issued photo identification
- Birth certificate (if 18 to 21 years of age)
- Proof of termination of previous marriages
- Proof of residency
- Cash payment
- Two witnesses
Book a secular wedding venue. Justices of the peace will not be able to perform marriages at religious venues or at venues that provide officiants for you. Ensure that your venue meets these requirements. If you intend to marry at the Hamilton County courthouse, contact the county clerk to determine whether you will need to book a ceremony time in advance.
Take a blood test. The state of Ohio requires that couples intending to marry test negative for syphilis before taking marriage vows. Have this test performed at your local practitioner's clinic, and bring the document of clearance to the probate court when you apply for your license.
Apply for a marriage license at county probate court. Both you and your intended must be present for the application process. Fill in the form provided and return it to the clerk.
Provide the clerk with your photo identification, proof of address, proof of termination of any previous marriages (i.e., spouse's death certificate or your divorce decree) and your medical examination reports. After you are approved, the clerk will provide your marriage license the same day.
Request a list of justices of the peace operating in your area. The clerk will be able to provide you with this along with a list of phone numbers.
Contact the available justices and select one to be your wedding officiant. Meet with her to discuss the plans for your wedding, including location, readings, vows and music. Minors hoping to marry will need to attend premarital counselling at this time.
Hold your wedding ceremony. Present the marriage license to the judge before the ceremony begins and, after the ceremony concludes, sign it, along with your witnesses. The justice of the peace will then ratify it and return it to the Hamilton County recorder within a week to finalize the process.
- Put-in-Bay Island Weddings: Ohio Weddings
- Hamilton County, Ohio: Civil Marriage Officiants
- U.S. Marriage Laws: Ohio
- Wedding Vendors: Ohio Marriage License Laws, Information and Requirements
- Hamilton County Probate Court: Marriage License Department of the Hamilton County Probate Court
- Ohio Bar: Law Facts Pamphlets - Ohio's Marriage Laws
- Photo Credit Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
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