Iowa Marriage

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UPDATED: Nov 29, 2010

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Written By: Jeffrey JohnsonUPDATED: Nov 29, 2010Fact Checked

Iowa marriage law dictates that parties must obtain a valid Iowa marriage license before being married. Doing so requires following the guidelines set forth below. Iowa recognizes common law marriages, being one of the few remaining states that does so. Common law marriages are created in Iowa when 3 specific elements are shown.


Iowa Marriage Consent Laws

  • With Parental Consent: 16 and 17 year-old minors must obtain parental consent to marry in Iowa.
  • Without Parental Consent: Adults 18 and older can marry in Iowa without parental consent.


Iowa Common Law Marriage

Iowa is one of the eleven states that continue to recognize common law marriages. The three elements that must be shown in order for a common law marriage to be legally created are: (1) present intent and agreement to be married, (2) continuous cohabitation, and (3) public declaration that the parties are husband and wife, sometimes referred to as “holding out” to the public as husband and wife.


Iowa Marriage License

  • Residency:  No residency requirement.
  • Tests: None.
  • Identification Required:  Couples must provide photo identification and social security card.
  • Appearance/Proxy:  Proxy marriages are not allowed in Iowa, but if one party cannot be present for the application process, they can sign their portion of the application before a notary public.
  • Previous Marriages:  Previously married individuals must provide dates of the ending of the previous marriage, for instance, date of divorce or date of death of the former spouse. If divorce occurred within the past 60 days, the party must provide a certified copy of the divorce decree.
  • Length of License:  6 months from the time of issuance.
  • Fees:  In general, $30, payable in cash only. Fees may vary slightly by county.
  • Filling Out the License/Submitting the License:  At least one adult witness is required when submitting the application for marriage license.
  • Authorized Iowa Officiants:  Justices of the peace or any ordained and licensed clergyman.

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
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