Tricounty News

Changes to state's marriage law

The 2009 Legislative Session passed changes to state laws pertaining to marriage license applications.

Two of the several changes taking effect Aug. 1, 2009, for couples applying for marriage licenses that are important to note are:

Both the bride and groom must apply and sign for the marriage license.

The Educator's Statement (required with a reduced fee marriage license) per Minnesota Statute 517 must be signed by the established educator, dated, notarized and appear on the educator's letterhead in order to be accepted.

There were many other changes to the marriage law as well. You can review the updates to Minnesota Statute 517 at, to become familiar with all the marriage requirements. If you have questions, contact the Stearns County License Center at (320) 656-3902.

A reminder to citizens that marriage licenses can now be applied for online with Stearns County at It's part of Stearns County's new Virtual License Center that was launched this summer. The Virtual License Center is designed to allow customers to submit applications and purchase License Center products, birth and death certificates, marriage licenses and marriage certificates online.

Stearns County Auditor-Treasurer Randy Schreifels said, "This is the first phase of a new initiative that will move us further toward our goal of making all License Center services available to the public online, 24 hours a day."

Marriage certificates and non-certified death certificates can be applied and paid for completely online. Certified and non-certified birth and death certificates require signatures, but customers may mail, fax, or upload signed notarized applications they received online without ever coming into the License Center.

The marriage license application requires signatures as well, but both parties applying need to appear in person at the License Center to sign. The advantage to applying online is that it enables the applicants to complete and pay for their marriage license before visiting the license center. Then a "Fast Pass" e-mail is issued and gives them top priority in the customer line, expediting their visit at the License Center.

Credit/debit cards and e-checks are accepted for these online services.