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How to Find Michigan Marriage Records

In Michigan, getting married is not only a ceremony that involves two people promising to spend the rest of their lives together. It is also a contract that two people willingly enter into that states agreed upon rights and obligations between them, such as shared benefits or property allocation. Due to the existence of marriage as a legal state contract, marriage records are considered a public record for any member of the public. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Vital Records holds and maintains marriage records of all Michigan marriages that took place after the year 1867. Marriage records hold multiple documents within them, and it is important for the requesting party to know which document they need in order to utilize them correctly.

Are Michigan Marriage Records Public?

While Michigan Marriage Records are public, they represent some of the most difficult records to obtain due to the personal nature of the information within. Government organizations often offer marriage verification letters rather than the original marriage records because marriage records must remain intact and unchanged with regard to the people involved in the marriage. If changes need to be made, these records are critical to that procedure.

Third party organizations also may have these records, but because of the difficulty in finding and obtaining marriage records, availability may vary or not exist.

Family Court Records can include marriage records and divorce records. These records contain personal information of those involved and their maintenance is critical should anyone involved wish to make changes. Because of this both marriage and divorce records can be considered more difficult to locate and obtain than other public records, and may not be available through government sources or third party public record websites.

Where to Find Free Michigan Marriage Records

It is not possible to view or obtain free Michigan marriage records. Although, fairly inexpensive copies may be available. These will be uncertified copies not suitable for many legal tasks, but still occasionally can serve as proof that a marriage has occurred. Uncertified copies can be obtained through MDHHS Vital Records. These uncertified copies are not a legal substitute for marriage certificates, and requesting parties should always make sure they know whether they need a certified record to fulfil their needs.

How Do I Get My Marriage Certificate in Michigan?

Copies of marriage verification can be obtained through the local county clerk where the marriage took place, or through the MDHHS Vital Records Office by mail-in requests or in-person requests. Anyone can request these records, as they are public. To have a record verified, the applicant must already have knowledge of the information that they want verified on the record. A marriage verification will not include any signatures, case numbers, or complete marriage records. They will, however, include a stamp and will only list the names on the record, the date of the marriage, and the location where it occurred. To begin the process of requesting a marriage record, fill out and complete the Request For Verification of a Michigan Marriage Record application. On this form, the following information must be listed in order to be verified on the record:

  • Full names of both parties on the Marriage Record
  • Date of Marriage
  • County of Marriage
  • Date of Filing

Mail in this document, with the correct fees and identification, to

The State of Michigan Vital Records
P.O. Box 30721
Lansing MI 48909

Processing time for orders submitted by mail is an average of 2-3 weeks. It is also possible to visit the Vital Records office at

The State of Michigan Vital Records Office
333 S Grand Avenue, 1st Floor
Lansing MI 48933

Valid identification includes driver’s license, a state issued ID, or passport. If these are not available, the MDHHS Vital Records website provides a list of acceptable identification for requesting these records. Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding State holidays. To get same-day service, it is necessary to submit the application for a marriage certificate by 3:00 p.m. at the Vital Records Office. There is a search fee of $18.00, and if expedited, the fee is another $12.00.

What are Michigan Marriage Records?

Michigan marriage records are complete documents that hold within them marriage licenses and marriage certificates. These documents have different levels of authority in verifying that a marriage took place, and they are used for different processes and verifications. Although the information and purposes of the documents may differ, they all offer a level of proof that a legal marital union between two people in Michigan has happened.

Both government websites and organizations may offer divorce and marriage records. Similarly, third party public record websites can also provide these types of records. But because third party organizations are not operated or sponsored by the government, record availability may vary. Further, marriage and divorce records are considered highly private and are often sealed, meaning availability of these types of records cannot be guaranteed.

What are Michigan Marriage Licenses?

A Michigan marriage license is different from a marriage certificate. A marriage license gives a couple to the go-ahead to get married. It is issued by the county clerk after the couple applies for it, and is used to have a marriage ceremony performed. There are certain actions that must be taken by the couple in order to apply for a marriage license in Michigan. Couples can get a head start on applying for a marriage license by filling out a PDF form for a marriage license. These forms are also available at the county clerk’s office. The law varies depending on county, but typically the rules for applying for a marriage license are as followed:

  • Set a date for the wedding
  • Fill out the application
  • Provide social security numbers of both parties
  • Provide proof of age for both parties
  • Provide proof of age for both parties
  • Provide proof of divorce for any prior marriages
  • Pay the $20.00 fee, $30.00 for out of state residents
  • Pick up license in person

These licenses, no matter which county they were obtained in, can be used in any county in the state of Michigan, unless the applicants are out of state residents. They are valid for 33 days from the date of application. If applicants are 16 or 17 years old, they must submit a written and notarized statement of consent of one parent or legal guardian. That parent or legal guardian must appear at the county clerk’s office when the couple applies for their marriage certificate.

How to Change Your Name After Marriage in Michigan

A person that wants to change their name after marriage in Michigan will need a copy of their marriage certificate as it is the document that authorizes name changes. Newlyweds may pay $20 for a marriage license in the county where they are getting married. The county clerk will provide the marriage license, and the county recorder will file it. Once the recorder files the license, the newlyweds will get a marriage certificate to present as proof of name change.

Having obtained their marriage certificate, the person looking to carry out a name change after marriage must notify the Social Security Administration (SSA) in Michigan. Most Michigan agencies will only allow a name change if registered with the SSA. The newlywed must complete form SS5- Application for a Social Security Card and submit it along with their driver's license and marriage certificate. The SSA processes requests in two weeks, free of charge. To update passport details, the subject of a name change can visit the local passport office to update their passport. Next, parties can visit their local DMV to update their driver's license. Finally, they can contact their bank and local utility companies to regularize their details.

What are Michigan Marriage Certificates?

A Michigan marriage certificate is documented proof that a marriage has happened between two people. This document is given to the couple after marriage has been performed. Michigan marriage certificates are not to be confused with Michigan marriage licenses.

How Do I Obtain a Copy of My Marriage Certificate in Michigan?

In order to access one’s own marriage certificate, visit the MDHHS Vital Records office or the county clerk’s office in the county where the marriage occurred. Fees and requirements typically vary depending on the county.