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Missouri Court Records

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Missouri Marriage Records

Missouri marriage records provide official details of marital unions recorded and filed in the Show Me State. Such records are accessible to eligible persons and maintained by state and local government agencies, such as the Missouri Bureau of Vital Records (Department of Health and Senior Services) or the Recorder of Deeds county office.

Missouri marriage records are used for various tasks, ranging from family history research to applying for spousal benefits. Depending on when it was created, records may provide details about the spouses, such as their full name, age at the time of marriage, and previous marital states. Records may also contain related information about the marriage ceremony, such as the officiant's and witnesses' names. 

What Types of Marriage Records are available in Missouri

Missouri marriage records consist of various documents, such as the declaration of intent provided by couples during a license application or the files created after the marriage ceremony. However, the most common records include the Missouri marriage statement, marriage certificate, and marriage license. Each of these serves a different function. 

Missouri Marriage Statement:

A Missouri marriage statement (or a Certified Statements Relating to Marriage) is a state-issued certified document affirming that the named parties are married. Certificates contain general information such as the date of the marriage, the county where the marriage occured, and the names of both parties at the time of the marriage. Marriage statements are useful for obtaining limited details about a marriage. 

Missouri Marriage Certificate

A marriage certificate is a more detailed document that provides information on marriages filed in the state. Such records are maintained by the Record of Deeds in the county where the marriage license was obtained. Certified copies of a marriage certificate can be used for transactions that call for proof of marriage. 

Missouri Marriage License

Marriage licenses are official permits issued to couples before they get married. It authorizes the named parties to get married. In Missouri, the Recorder of Deeds issues licenses in each county. Once it's issued, a marriage license remains valid for a fixed period, during which the named parties must complete their marriage in an officiated ceremony.

Note: Any marriage conducted in Missouri is considered void without a marriage license. Marriages must also be officiated by approved officiants, such as judges or any clergyman in good standing with a synagogue or church.


Missouri Marriage Certificate

Missouri Marriage License


Confirms that a wedding occured

Authorizes couples to have  a wedding


Include details of the couple and the wedding ceremony (location, date, officiant)

Contains details of the wedding


Remains valid unless marriage ends (divorce, annulment)

Valid for 30 days. 


Issued after the wedding ceremony

Issued before the marriage

Are Missouri Marriage Records Public?

Missouri marriage records are generally public and processed by different agencies. For instance, the St Louis Recorder of Deeds maintains a free online search tool that provides records of marriages from 1932 till date.  However, such records contain limited information, such as the names of the spouses and the date of the marriage. Record seekers can obtain more detailed records by applying at the county recorder of deeds where the marriage license was obtained.

How to Find Marriage Records in Missouri

The Bureau of Vital Records (within the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services) maintains a central registry for marriages in the state. It also processes requests for a certified statement related to marriage. Members of the public can obtain information by submitting a completed application form and paying the required fee.

Some of the information that's required for a marriage statement application include:

  • Full name of spouses (first, middle, last before marriage, last after marriage)
  • Date of marriage
  • The location where the license was issued (city, county)
  • Applicant's full name
  • Applicant's phone number and email address
  • The purpose of the certificate request
  • Requester's relationship to the registrant

Applications can either be submitted in person or sent by mail. However, requesters must provide a valid government-issued ID during the application, such as a driver's license, US passport, or state ID card. Requesters must also pay a non-refundable $15 application fee, which covers:

  • Cost of conducting a search
  • Cost of issuing one marriage statement (or a "no-record-found" statement if none is found)

In addition, record seekers who apply via mail must enclose a self-addressed stamped return envelope. align with the appropriate fee. Checks or money orders must be drawn from a US bank and payable to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

How to Get a Marriage License in Missouri

Marriage licenses are a crucial part of any marriage. With one, you can have a wedding ceremony or be legally wed in Missouri. Obtaining a license is simple. Almost anyone can obtain a license by following several general steps.

Step 1. Meet the Eligibility Requirements. 

Applicants who wish to obtain a license must meet the state requirements for marriage, one of which is that both parties must be old enough. Under Section 451.020 of the Missouri code, county officials are prohibited from issuing licenses to applicants younger than 18 without parental consent.

Males and females aged 16 may marry, but this must be done with the written consent of the parents. In addition, state laws prohibit marriages between first cousins or directly related parties. County recorders may also deny applications for a marriage license if a decision is reached that one or both parties lack the "mental capacity to enter into marriage," possibly as a result of a mental condition.

Step 2. Gather your Documents and Information

As part of the application process, you'll need to provide details about yourself and your partner, such as your full name, address, social security number, date of birth, and occupation. You'll also need to present some documents to prove your identity and age. Some of the documents that may be used during applications include:

  • Missouri ID
  • U.S passport or foreign passport
  • Government ID card
    Driver's license
  • Certified copy of US birth certificates

Only valid (non-expired IDs) are permitted.

Step 3. Submit the Application and pay the fee

Marriage applications are submitted at the county courthouse. Both parties must appear,  provide an ID, and pay the license fee. Although the license fee varies with each county, Missouri Marriage licenses typically cost $50 on average. Applicants may pay an extra bank processing fee if a credit or debit card is used during payments. After a license is issued, couples must marry within 30 days, after which the license becomes invalid. Couples must reapply and pay for a new license if a marriage ceremony isn't done within this period.

Who can obtain Marriage Records in Missouri?

Anyone can obtain marriage records in Missouri. However, access is generally restricted to limited information such as the name of the spouses, date of marriage, and location. Confidential information submitted during a license application, such as social security numbers or residential addresses,  remains protected and cannot be obtained by members of the public. In addition, access to certified copies of a marriage record is restricted to only the parties named on the record, direct family members, and any authorized legal representative.

Can You Lookup Online Marriage Records For Free in Missouri

Although residents can search for free marriage records online, the accuracy and reliability of the information may vary with different counties. Some counties, like St Louis, maintain free online marriage indexes containing general information on regional marriages. Residents and non-residents may also be able to search for free marriage records using third-party platforms. Operating as private entities independent of any state government agency, third-party sites provide access to records compiled from multiple jurisdictions. Access to some records may require essential information, such as the subject's name or marriage location.  

Is Missouri a Common Law State for Marriage?

Missouri does not recognize common-law marriages created in the state. However, it recognizes the validity of marriages initiated in other states that recognize this union type.

Common law marriages refer to unions where two people are considered formally married even though they did not obtain a marriage license or hold a wedding ceremony. Multiple US states recognize common law marriages, including Iowa, Colorado, Texas, Montana, Rhode Island, Kansas, and South Carolina. Some of the general requirements for a common-law marriage include the following:

  • Both parties must live together.
  • Both parties must indicate their consent and intention to be married
  • Bot parties must hold themselves out as married to friends, family, and the social community

Note: Although Missouri does not permit common-law marriages, some jurisdictions permit couples to register domestic partnerships. Domestic partnerships refer to unions where two single and unrelated people register as partners with agreed rights defined in a legal document. However, such arrangements do not grant couples all the rights and protection of a formal marriage.

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